Galapagos is a magical place (part 3)

by Kim on September 9, 2012 · 35 comments

Click the links to read part one and part two of our time in the Galapagos Islands.

Galapagos Islands, Day 6- North Seymour and Bartolomew Islands

Today is my sister’s birthday. I wish I could call her but there isn’t a cell phone tower for miles. This lack of connectivity is one of the many things that I adore about the Galapagos, but right now I’d give a lot to be able to tell my sister that I love her.

I have two sisters and they mean more than anything to me. We were all born in August, two weeks apart, and I take this as some cosmic sign that we are meant to be together here on earth. There have already been dozens of times that I’ve wished my sisters could be with me, experiencing the same amazing things that I am lucky enough to be experiencing. When you love people deeply, even the best thing can be made better when they’re there.

Today we visit Bartolomew Island. Bartolomew is a mountainous and volcanic island. It doesn’t have much wildlife but I absolutely love the terrain. The happiness I feel at being on this island just solidifies the fact that I am a mountain person through and through. If I lived here, on this uninhabited piece of land, I’d hang my hammock towards the mountains, not the sea.

Bartolomew Island

We go snorkeling in the afternoon and see hundreds of starfish. As I swim by a large outcropping of rocks a penguin dives into the water and darts below me. I laugh when I realize that I’ve had so many unbelievable experiences in the Galapagos that swimming with penguins barely registers as amazing. It’s crazy that I’m used to this.

Back on the boat we get incredibly lucky once again. As we sail towards our next destination a large group of dolphins swim up to say hello. Like the whales yesterday, they swim from one side of the boat to the other, jumping in unison, putting on a show for us. We lean over the bow of the ship and watch them, cheering when they leap. Each time they surface they turn to their side in order to look up and see us. They are playful and interested in us and we stand laughing and clapping for them until they eventually swim away.

Dolphins swimming in front of the boat

A dolphin jumps from the water 

Galapagos Island, Day 7- Santiago and Rabida Islands

It’s our last full day in the Galapagos and I don’t want to leave. Today we visit Rabida Island and we are all lighthearted and laughing, taking fun pictures and trying to soak in the remaining hours of our trip.

Jumping in the Galapagos

Having some fun on Rabida Island

I’ve grown to adore these people, though I’ve only known them a week. It’s such a joy to meet people from all over the world and find that you have a thousand things in common.

Galapagos group shot

After dinner we linger, chatting, talking about our home countries and our previous travels. We draw maps of where we are from, share pictures of our pets, and raise our glasses in celebration. We all agree the experience has been amazing.

Celebrating our last night in the Galapagos

Galapagos Islands, Day 8- Santa Cruz Island

We leave today to go back to the mainland but before we do we board a dingy at 6:00 a.m. to float amongst the mangrove trees.

The early morning light is beautiful, it’s such a peaceful time of day. We float between the inlets and sea turtles and small sharks swim below us in the shallow water.

The sun rises on our last morning in the Galapagos

An early morning trip to the mangrove trees

I’m so sad that our trip to the Galapagos is ending. I’ve tried my best, but the pictures and words I’m able to share can’t really capture the magic of the Galapagos. I feel at a loss to describe what a special place this part of the earth truly is. I feel lucky and blessed to have been here.

There is so much to do and discover in the world! I stepped away from my “normal life” on a hunch based on a stirring inside of me that told me I would love to be out here, wandering, exploring the world. I was so right to listen to that internal pull.

I have never been so happy. There is so much life out here! So much beauty and mystery and joy. I am in love with the world. I want to know every inch of it.

I read an African proverb once: When you pray, move your feet. 

When I read the proverb for the first time years ago, I assumed it referred to dancing.

Now that I am out here traveling, I see it’s meaning in a new light. To walk, to roam, to wander- it’s a form of prayer for me. It’s a way to honor life- my own, and all the other amazing lives that I’ve encountered since I’ve begun to move my feet. 



{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Gillian @OneGiantStep September 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm

What a magical place to visit. Definitely the right decision to go there!


Kim September 10, 2012 at 5:06 am

It was incredibly magical. You are right, it was absolutely the right decision!


Amanda September 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I’ve loved reading your Galapagos posts, Kim. The way you wrote them was beautiful, and I can tell through your words what an amazing time you had.

I’ll get there myself, one day.


Kim September 10, 2012 at 5:07 am

Thanks Amanda 🙂 I’ll look forward to reading about your adventures when you do make it there.


Pamela September 10, 2012 at 4:10 am

I remember being here and seeing all of the animals happy and free, it really changed me, this is a very special place in the world!


Kim September 10, 2012 at 5:10 am

Yes, it absolutely is. It’s so fun to be in a place where the animals rule and aren’t afraid of humans at all because we haven’t hurt them.


Carmel September 10, 2012 at 7:46 am

Your sister’s birthday must be really close to mine then!

That has to be a hard part of this whole travel thing–having the time of your life, an amazing experience, and wishing the people you love most (besides Brian, of course) could be there to share it. It’s nice that you can share your words and pictures, but being there in that moment with someone in particular…that would be hard to miss out on at times.

Thank you anyway for doing such an eloquent job sharing!


Kim September 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm

It is actually the only bad part of travel I’ve found so far: Missing those you love and wishing they were there with you.


Dana - Our Wanderlust September 10, 2012 at 7:48 am

I love all of your Galapagos posts! It’s amazing what saying ‘yes’ to some crazy opportunities can bring you – I love seeing that in action! Glad you had an wonderful experience…


Kim September 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Thank you Dana! It was such an amazing experience. So glad we said yes!


Sarah Somewhere September 10, 2012 at 10:44 am

So, so beautiful. Your pictures, your words, that unbelieveable natural landscape. Wow. I LOVE that proverb. How I interpret it is putting in the action along with the prayer. We can ask and dream, but we have to take the first step and keep walking along that path. Thank you for this, I’m inspire by your words, and I’m so happy for you!


Kim September 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Sarah, what a wonderful interpretation (why didn’t I think of that??). Love it! XO


Dustin September 11, 2012 at 8:46 am

To help stay connected while traveling we use the following, hope it helps:

– Google Voice for making calls through the computer to any number (cell or land line) in the states for free!
– Talkatone App (+ Google Voice) allows you to make calls from your smartphone (Apple or Android) when you have wifi only. Doesn’t require anyone in the states to be online. It’s free but you do have to give them your Google account info so I would recommend setting up a Google dummy account just for this
– Skype for text and video chat, but requires the other side to be online
– Google+ Hangouts for multiple video chats at once, with my family in different cities we have enjoyed this for fun (still requires everyone to be online)


Kim September 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Thanks Dustin. We’ve been using Skype through our phone but the phone needs to have wifi. So far it’s worked well though. I’ve never heard of Google+ Hangouts- I’ll look into it!


Ayngelina September 11, 2012 at 8:54 am

There’s something so magical about dolphins, especially when they swim along the boat. I never tire of it.


Kim September 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I totally agree!


Ian September 11, 2012 at 10:05 am

After reading your galapagos blog trilogy, and seeing the pictures and your experience, it just really makes me want to go there now. i want to see it also :).


Kim September 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Ian, it is SO WONDERFUL. I hope you make it to the Galapagos.


Sarah Ram September 12, 2012 at 8:57 am

I love the pic of you and Brian jumping – pure joy!


Kim September 12, 2012 at 11:07 am

Haha, that was a really fun day 🙂


Tracey September 12, 2012 at 10:26 am

Thanks so much for sharing your amazing experience in the Galapagos!! So glad you took the opportunity and ran with it. I can not wait to go and see and experience the Galapagos too:)


Kim September 12, 2012 at 11:08 am

Thanks Tracey, it was my pleasure 🙂 The Galapagos are truly amazing.


Hannah September 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Reading about your two sisters made me so sad about leaving my own. Moments like that are unavoidable I know, but no less painful. I love how much your love – for your family, your dreams, and your life, just spills out in this post. Keep moving those feet 🙂


Kim September 20, 2012 at 5:43 am

It’s the worst part… leaving those you love and wishing they could be there with you. I don’t really know how to reconcile it, you know?


Montecristo Travels (Sonja) October 4, 2012 at 8:06 am

We hope to make it someday … we travel with a small (3.5) service dog so it is a challenge. I carry him in a sling when he isn’t allowed to interact with wildlife but … I am afraid that this may remain closed off to us. I am not sure if there is a company that would take him to live aboard. We scuba dive and sail so he is use to staying on the boat without me for short periods of time. I shall look into it again … a disability (that I don’t advertise) should not stop me from seeing this amazing place! Love your blog.


Kim October 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm

I agree, you should not be stopped from seeing the Galapagos! There are many boats and companies that offer tours- perhaps you can find one that will allow you to take your pooch.


Kailee May 20, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Today, my teacher told me to look at this website since traveling the world has always been a dream of mine. I haven’t stopped reading your posts since. I’m 14 years old and I have a jar in my room that reads “To Travel Anywhere” and it’s slowly filling up with coins and dollar bills. I’ve never been more inspired and now I know my dream can come true. Thank you for this.


Kim May 22, 2014 at 9:03 am

Kailee, I had a jar too in which I socked away every little bit of money that I could. I saved for years and years with that jar and now here I am. Your dream can and WILL come true, keep it at the center of your life. Please email me when you cash in those coins for your first plane ticket, I want to be able to cheer for you when it happens. Please let me know if I can help with anything along the way.


Clare February 16, 2015 at 11:33 pm

Hey Kim! I’m heading to Ecuador for exchange in August this year, so excited I can’t wait! I have limited budget but really wish i can visit Galapagos Islands too. Can i know how much you paid to get to the islands?


Kim February 19, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Hi Clare, I think we paid about 2K per person- it wasn’t cheap! You can find less expensive options, we opted for a nice boat with a nice sleeping cabin and it was worth it.


Kathy O. April 14, 2016 at 10:51 am

What month of the year did you visit the Galapagos ?


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