Indiana June is the main character in a real-life Pick-A-Path Adventure story. She is cycling the globe and letting people vote to decide what she does next. Her fate is in your hands so get voting to choose how the story unfolds. Read more…

« PREVIOUS STORY                                                        NEXT STORY »

Tuesday, 06 March 2012

Galapagos Part 2: San Cristobal


Sea lions litter the esplanade of San Cristobal. Like drunken louts they lie passed out in awkward positions wherever they fall on the boardwalk and beachfront each evening.

I kept calling them seals but was told that they are in fact sea lions.

So what's the difference between a sea lion and seal?

Well, one has external ears and big flipper feet... and the other is big, black and a platinum record-selling musician... ok, bad joke! The sea lions at Galapagos may be lazy out of the water but I soon learned they were capable of back-bending acrobatics under the surface.


Our first snorkeling spot for the day was a natural swimming pool formed by a circle of black volcanic rock with a white sand floor. We had been told to be on the lookout for sea lions and within minutes of entering the ocean three flippered friends swam up to meet me.


They ducked and dived, spun in circles under the water and blew bubbles at me in the aqua blue water. They were almost the length of my body and were three times as wide but they were able to glide between rocks with grace and speed. There must have been 20 of them zigzagging between us.

Their eyes were like giant marbles rolling around, clocking our every move.

It's a little too early to call but swimming with these curious whiskered creatures could be the highlight of my Galakiwi trip - it was such an incredible experience. Swimming back to the boat I got within a metre of a sea iguana, the only iguana in the world that stayed in the water, rather than evolving to live on land. He looked like he belonged to a different, prehistoric world with speckled scales and sharp Mohawk of spines on his back.


Our next snorkel spot was Kicker Rock, formed by lava eruptions and erosion millions of years ago. It juts out of the water like a foot kicking the ocean and it's a favourite hang-out for teenage sharks and grandpa tortoises.


The sheer cliff drop-off is home to millions of technicoloured fish with hot pink lipstick, canary yellow eyes and dots and stripes all over. We kicked our way through the channel between the two rocks and I was lucky enough to see one white tipped and two black tipped reef sharks swimming below. Who knew a shark could be a creature of beauty, rather than just inciting terror like in the movie Jaws.


On the other side of the rock we played with fur seals who were keen to show us their tricks.


We were also privy to the mating ritual of the frigate birds. The male has a large red sack under his beak that inflates like a balloon when he is aroused and trying to attract a mate. While he's in mating-mode, in true male fashion he can't think of anything else. He doesn't hunt, he doesn't eat, he probably doesn't take out the trash, he just sits their waiting for a woman to be seduced by his big balloon. He can last for up to a week before he gives up and resigns himself to a life of bachelorhood and TV dinners.

3frigatemating   Frigatefly

We saw the male sitting in the green trees with his red balloon all puffed and females circling above checking him out but playing the field.

I know growing up in New Zealand I had zero appreciation of the beauty that surrounded me. It wasn't until I started travelling and people comment what an unspoiled paradise it was that it started to sink in. It's similar here in the Galapagos, imagine if you grew up somewhere where it's normal to sit next to a sea lion on a park bench or to ride a sea turtle to school, you'd expect it was the same everywhere. So moving forward, there is a big push to educate local people about the treasures they possess and how to protect and nurture them for future generations.

2dinnerbbq   2poutfish

For dinner we went to a local bbq joint where you select your meat and then it gets thrown on the grill. I selected this Angelina Jolie look-a-like with big pouty lips, caught fresh and it just flaked off the fork.

For more stories and pics check out:

Galapagos Part 1: Quito to San Cristobal

Thanks to Linda for the underwater camera shots.


Latest Poll Results
New York: What will Indiana June do in the big apple?
21% Track down and visit Oliver Jeffers:
Renowned Children's storybook writer & illustrator
11% Walk the High Line:
A linear park built on a 1.45-mile section of the elevated NY Central Railroad 
11% Be a NYC detective for a day: 
Part game, theatre and tour to discover some of NYC's most off-the-beaten path spots
13% Explore the City Hall Subway Station: 
Abandoned & hidden from the public for 60 years
12% Flying trapeze class:
Hone her circus skills learning how to fly on a trapeze 
30% NZ Flag + Statue of Liberty:
Bodypaint the NZ flag on her body and go up the Statue of Liberty
2% Go to Queens and find a 'Nanny' sound-alike:
Video someone with the nanny accent saying "noo Zealand, i love that place"
Voting closed | 204 VOTES
Where is Indiana June today?
Tag cloud
Latest pic on the road
umbraco.MacroEngines.DynamicXml … more snaps