“Take into account that great love and great achievements require great risk”. Dalai Lama
After one year of Facebook friendship, one day he told me “I love you”. The next month he was flying from Rome to Quito. Everybody told us we were crazy, and surely we were a bit. After this first encounter, which lasted 2 weeks, we continued our cyber-romance and five months later we were still together and choosing a new place to meet: Galapagos!!
It’s not a coincidence that they are called “The Enchanted Islands”, and indeed it is one of the most desirable places in the world to visit! Since our arrival to the port of Santa Cruz, where our cruise started, we met the real natives of the island: the sea lions (“lobos de mar”, in spanish), the largest animal population there. Gracefully surfing on the sea, commanding abandoned boats, napping on a bench, sun-bathing on sandy shores or over the rocks, and being fairly social and playful, they organized the welcoming party on the islands! Party? Yes! I also celebrated my birthday in the island!
We bought a 5-days cruise tour. This love story deserved all special details, so we had the best cabin available, a dreamed suite with a large window, instead of the little round one, viewing permanently to the sea…But not just that! The crew was so nice that prepared a surprise birthday celebration for me with an after-party at midnight looking at the constellations in a clean sky.
Each day on the cruise was a new adventure and an ecological lesson while exploring the land with our group called “The Blue-Footed Boobies”. Santa Cruz, Santiago, R?bida, Seymur, and San Cristobal were our destinies. Each one with a particular landscape, each one with a different sand color going from reddish to white; each one with a secret living inside, governed mainly by one of the fantastic creatures that live in the island. Giant turtles, blue-footed boobies, iguanas, lava-lizards, finches, sea lions, flamingos, and frigate birds… all friendly as in a fairy tale, not afraid, still trusting humans…
The top experiences, nevertheless, were undoubtedly the gifts from the sea lions: We were blessed to be present while a sea lion was giving birth… There are no words to describe that… So, let me tell you about swimming and diving with them… I never felt so excited! They look at you, they play with you, they fool you remembering the Islands’ law: “you can see everything, but touch nothing”.
After 5 days navigating around the archipelago, we spent another 2 days at which it became our favorite island: San Cristobal. Because everything is possible in a magic place, we found an igloo on the top of a building, which was our home for those days, with the best view of the island including a great beach full of sea lions!
Remember the frog being an enchanted prince? Well, for sure in this island the sea lions are animated by a sort of human soul, or that is the feeling I had when I saw them taking care of each other, always hugging and kissing themselves, and the little puppies walking in groups of friends following the tourists…
The real paradise was here, with lonely beaches just visited by me, my boyfriend and couples of sea lions… “Playa del amor” (Beach of Love) was another scenery for another close encounter. One of these lovely sea lions came to join us over our towel while taking the sun! Of course, our first stupid reaction was to be scared! They weight near 400kg!
But as in every fairy tale, there is always something that does not go well… The sea lion puppies are so naturally friendly and so cute, that tourists are immediately enchanted by them and touch them. The mothers recognize their pups by their bark and their smell. Once a human touches them, the mothers are unable to recognize them again and the pups are abandoned and condemned to die, since they are still unable to hunt their own food. People from the National Park at “Playa de los Lobos” picking up the bodies of the dead pups was one of the most heart breaking things I have ever saw.
I know, I have talked more about my encounter with the sea lions than about the reencounter with the love of my life… The truth is that the story was the same, as soon as I saw each one of them for the first time, I felt in love with them, and exactly there it began my commitment with both of them! At the Enchanted Islands I also discovered that my Italian boyfriend was a sea lion trapped in the body of a prince. After this journey, we decided to move together. I crossed the Atlantic and since a year and two months we are living in Germany, and thanks to the Enchanted Islands, I already have a “Lobito” at home. J