Galapagos paradise where nature rules

Imagine a place where animals and humanity thrive in peaceful harmony, living side by side and with mutual respect.

I have just returned from such a paradise – the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean.

The Galapagos Archipelago is a natural utopia full of life on land and under water, and a place where our understanding of the natural world was forever changed after Charles Darwin’s 1835 visit on board the HMS Beagle.

Charles Darwin recognized the importance of the finches on the islands, which evolved from a common ancestor to a number of distinct species through natural selection, leading to his book On the Origin of Species, which was highly controversial at the time.

Magical atmosphere

Against the background of wild wealth, I arrived in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal, the easternmost of the Galapagos Islands.

In an instant, I was struck by the magical atmosphere of nature and people living in a happy coexistence.

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Sea lion in a playful mood. Galapagos. Image: Keith Broomfield

Galapagos sea lions lounged on the sides of the streets, barely glancing at passers-by, and pelicans perched on the walls of the docks, watching what was happening.

I soon learned to be careful where I put my feet so I don’t accidentally step on one of the many marine iguanas basking on city sidewalks.

abundance of life

Later that day, I snorkeled and snorkeled in the nearby bay and was fascinated by the abundance of colorful marine life.

Blue-eyed parrotfish roamed the seafloor, and schools of shimmering yellow-tailed tang fish parted before me.

At the far end of my vision, a dark figure materialized.

Intrigued, I flipped my fins a couple of times to explore the situation and was rewarded with a magical experience of swimming with a sea turtle.

He swam slowly but purposefully, stroking the ocean with poetic ease.

Suddenly, a sea lion swept towards me like an underwater torpedo, and just when it seemed that a collision was imminent, it broke away at the last second, blowing bubbles from its nose.

A playful sea lion dives beneath Keith.JPG 47981133 1crng6x1f
Playful sea lion dives. Galapagos. Image: Keith Broomfield

He tumbled at the bottom before rising again for another close pass.

This sea lion was having fun, and a wave of joy ran through all the veins of my body from the close connection between the sea lion and me.

Gannet relatives

The next day, a visit to a nearby islet led to close encounters with blue-footed boobies and nesting frigatebirds.

Gannets are related to boobies and sport the most magnificent blue legs, while frigatebirds have a prehistoric aura, their narrow-winged forms reminiscent of a pterodactyl in flight.

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Blue-footed booby. Galapagos. Image: Keith Broomfield

Other natural delights have opened up on nearby Santa Cruz Island, including giant tortoises, reef sharks and the island’s famous finches.

During my short visit, I was so absorbed in the charms of the Galapagos Islands that my heart sank with sadness on the day of departure.

This tantalizing glimpse of the wild treasures of the islands has left an indelible mark on my soul, and as I write these words, my mind is still buzzing with excitement.

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