Galápagos Islands, Ecuador There are some places in the world that I consider myself extremely fortunate to have visited once. I cannot believe I’m back on Genovesa in the Galápagos Islands, swimming eye to eye with a couple of playful fur sea lions. Their big smiley eyes keep pace with me as I snorkel along the inner perimeter of this spectacular caldera in the northern part of the archipelago. This is an island to free the soul. Fregate birds a plenty puff out their Crimson air sacks to attract passing females, while Red-footed and Nazca boobies show off their twig-laden nests. Overhead, exotic red-billed tropicbirds call for their mates, while a small Galapagos mocking bird takes a fancy to my shoelaces. This is not just a birder’s heaven, this is the epitome of the Galapagos miracle that leaves wonderment in your heart and makes you feel good to be alive. Most of the passengers on my ship, the Eclipse, are over fifty and happy to have waited a lifetime to experience this phenomenon; smiles are on everyone’s face this week. Our boat, operated by Ocean Adventures, was remarkable for its knowledgeable crew and guides, who were entertaining and well read in the island’s flora and fauna. This is a great choice if you are going to the Galápagos with children; families get their own activity pack and personal guide. Our cabins were spacious and our showers always hot and I whiled away many afternoons on a comfy sun bed on top deck. The logistical slickness of the Eclipse belies its size; its four little ribs ferry guests to and from the mainland with minimal effort and extreme swiftness. The walk to the peak on Bartolomé Island offered a great finale to our week in the Galápagos. The far-reaching views take in the southern archipelago and we get the chance to see Bartolomé’s iconic volcanic spatter cones and flows. The landscape here is like no other on earth with glistening black, green, red and orange landforms that jut out across the horizon. The majestic Pinnacle Rock, which towers over the island, is a popular spot for the Galápagos penguins, who dart happily in and out of the rocky outcrops. The Galápagos Islands are continually awe-inspiring; in one day you can frolic with sea lions, swim with green and black turtles and admire the stately flightless cormorants. I wished I could teleport my loved ones to come and share in the delight and beauty of the Galápagos.
A short cry from Cambridge and the wild Suffolk coastline, close