GALAPAGOS PRODUCT COORDINATOR
Everyone has their Galápagos moment. And mine I owe to Metropolitan Touring. Of course, those fortunate enough to work in the Enchanted Isles like me are eternally grateful for the opportunity. So let me tell you my unforgettable experience, aboard the Santa Cruz. Of course, everyday we’d wake up to new surprises, but on 12th January 2011, something that filled my heart with joy and marvel happened, an experience that will last forever. We had reached Bucaneer’s Cove, which was not on our regular itinerary. We usually went to Rábida, but the Park had closed the island, and authorized the change of plans. When we got to our destination a most amazing sight awaited. Twenty… forty… perhaps fifty… perhaps even one hundred… (my guess would be that much)… Sperm Whales were swimming in the sea as we arrived. Everywhere we looked, these enormous, beautiful 20-metre-long sea monsters were breaching from the water. Pilar and Lupe Proaño, who have been in Galápagos for so many years, the guides and crew – everyone – was absolutely flabbergasted, and agreed that the magnitude of the experience was something that nobody had witnessed before. The captain then authorized us to lower the dinghies. We were “going in”! And came closer still to this awesome festival of nature, a spectacle that lasted for an entire hour! And we couldn’t get enough of it!
David and Goliath
I clearly remember my first fur seals, rays, sharks, seahorses, and hammerheads. But nothing compares to the indescribable feeling of having the largest fish in the world right in front of me. The whale shark is a monument to biomass! The experience transcends sight… it is an earth-shattering all-encompassing feeling of immensity… I was around 24 metres deep in the middle of the deep blue sea, and suddenly a dark mass approaches me. I threw myself onto a rock as the current ran through my mask and equipment. Unable to decipher at a glance what it was, the emotion dominated me. The silhouette of this Goliath of the seas came closer and I suddenly throw myself to see the giant creature from up close. Within minutes the encounter is inevitable and our courses meet. I could not feel more insignificant. “My heart cannot beat faster than this”, I thought, and swam as fast as I could to keep up with it, while it seemed to move so very slowly under water… and that’s when the experience reached its climax… I decided to head back… but upon my return to the rock I’d been stationed, but in the opposite direction, another whale shark was coming closer! I felt more confident now, and swam right up to the animal. His head was inching towards me, but gently spun to his right and without throwing a single bubble moved past me, his left eye about three feet from mine… In less than fifteen minutes I found myself face to face with two whale sharks: one of the most spectacular moments a human being could experience. Galápagos is magical, unpredictable, powerful, and harmless … all at the same time. Every time I tell the story, smiles emerge.