Tuesday, May 27, 2008
  I'm home!
Blue-footed boobies

And oh my god, what a trip.

I think this scene will sum up much of my trip:

We were at Wolf (or was it Darwin?), a very remote island of the Galapagos. Unless you are on a dedicated dive boat, you typically do not visit Wolf or Darwin as they are located far, far away from the central islands. Wolf has been called the best dive site in the whole world, which is why it's worth the trip for divers. It's also where we would see them if we were going to see whale sharks at all on the trip.

Unfortunately, I was sick. I had been since basically the second day of the trip. I managed the first-day checkout dive and a dive on the second day after taking FOREVER to descend because my ears wouldn't clear. After that, my ears wouldn't clear at all. Although I wasn't congested, my ears apparently were.

I left the cabin at Wolf and Darwin only to eat, and sometimes not even that. I felt horrible physically and emotionally was incredibly depressed. But I had to leave long enough to let the guy clean our cabin at least, so as the other people suited up for a dive, I took some tea up to the sundeck.

There were dolphins everywhere in the water. Everywhere. It was honestly as if someone had yelled, "Cue the dolphins!" It seemed that there were hundreds, jumping out of the water, making their little half-circles.

Both Wolf and Darwin are just ALIVE with birds. The only way I can compare it to you is that there are so many birds overhead that it looks like you're at a landfill. Only they are boobies and frigatebirds and tropicbids and terns, not just turkey vultures.

So that day, with birds flying overhead and the water before me alive with dolphins, the day just starting, I stood and I cried. Sobbed. The prettier the scene got, the more it overwhelmed me, the harder I cried. I was there, at this magically beautiful place, and I was too sick to enjoy it. As the divers made their way out to the water in their dinghies, I hobbled back to my cabin and spent the day watching movies (four that day) while everyone else swam with dolphins and turtles and hammerheads. Day slater, I saw a video of one of the dives, of a pod of dolphins swimming, and asked Chris, "Did you see that?" "Umm, yeah," he answered. I started crying all over again.

That pretty much sums up most of my trip.

I felt well enough to snorkel one of the days, so I saw some turtles and paired-up bigeye jacks and hammerheads from far above, and a funny pair of flounders. By Friday my ears were better, so actually got to dive, coughing furiously underwater while watching the fish and turtles. I did a night dive and saw lots of big jawfish and tiny scorpionfish. Saturday I dove Gordon's Rocks, where the current is so strong that it carries you away the second you let go of the rocks. There I saw some hammerheads.

Friday and Saturday we actually left the boat a little, which was good. The land stuff was awesome.

To get me to stop crying, Chris told me that we could come back again next year. It didn't get me to stop crying, but it did make me feel better; at least although this trip was a disaster, I have something to look forward to. So next year we'll go back and stay on an island and do some land tours. Being on land there made me so happy.

Now I'm sick again. Chris started to get sick on Sunday, and I started feeling bad yesterday. What a joke!

Hey, at least Maggie was happy to see us when we got home - video here.
Just think. This time you got to visit the Land part of Galapagos. Next time you'll get to see everything underwater!
What a great guy, too, to try and make you feel better about the whole thing. :) Hope you're both feeling better!!
Sorry you were not feeling well. It sometimes just is not your day but you got a second chance so hopefully next time will be better. Even though your activities were cut short you got to see more than most people. I am looking forward to your D300 shots. Tell Chris I enjoyed his shots and short videos.

thank you, lovey! and actually, the land part was so good that i want to see MORE of it next time. maybe with a few dives thrown in to boot. sadly, the REALLY good place to dive (wolf & darwin) is all but inaccessible unless you're on a dive-only cruise. ahh well, no big deal. i am thankfully just as happy to see a flounder as i am to see a hammerhead, so i won't sweat that much.
and thanks, tom, i told him. :)
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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