Home > Galápagos Islands > Exploring the Magic Galapagos North Eastern waters, Part Two

Exploring the Magic Galapagos North Eastern waters, Part Two

March 12, 2011

Our sailing schooner is right in between the northern islands of Genovesa and Marchena, at the very middle of the Marchena Channel. Guillermo, the Captain reduces the yacht’s speed a bit as we all congregate on deck, under the sails, at the bow and some half-way up the masts, watching the unexpected company of a large school of bottle-nosed dolphins coming from the north at fast speed, just to catch up with our boat and then stay around, as if playing with this mechanic creature invading their realms…..

The dolphins put on an amazing show: some jump several feet up in the air, making some incredibly acrobatic maneuvers, and crashing back into the water with foamy splashes that reach us with sea spray as we busily film and photograph the show.  We can see mothers racing alongside our yacht with their young calves swimming skillfully right besides them, keeping up with the adults’ speed and pace….

As the dolphin school seems to be there to stay for a while, our guide David, a couple our expedition’s group members and myself ask the Captain for permission and in split seconds the crew members and us are rapidly deploying our small landing dinghy into the water as we jump on board it and have our fins, masks and snorkels literally tossed overboard for us to catch them in the air and secure them for the maneuver we are about to engage on…. Effectively, once we are all aboard the dinghy, George, the boatman, quickly yet carefully moves away from the boat and positions the craft at a short distance from where the main part of the dolphin school is still playing around.  Our intention is to actually swim with them…..

And we do…. With our fins, masks and snorkels in place, the three of us jump in the water to meet these amazingly friendly marine mammals, the dolphins…. They perform stunning antics, making sharp turns, passing alongside or under our bodies, looking at us with amiable curiosity and, yes, we do make direct eye contact with them…. we tend to relate those big and somewhat bulbous eyes with their seemingly smiling faces, an altogether rare yet extremely pleasant feeling of mutual happiness…. We try to keep up, not very successfully, with their agility and literally engage in a memorable fifteen minute (which seemed like an hour) play time with a school of bottle-nosed dolphins; while our expedition companions recorded on film and photos, from the yacht, our unique adventure and experience, a magic moment lived in the far isolation of the Galapagos northern waters…..

The magnificent creatures seemed to wave a kind of sad good-bye and slowly continued moving with a southern direction, most likely in search of food, as we returned to our yacht, filled with joy and adrenaline…… Our wet bodies and gear added a touch of chaos to the deck where crew and expedition members mingled while we told in excitement the stories and moments we had just lived, swimming, almost buddy-style, arm next to arm, with these large and gentle marine mammals; one more magic occasion lived in the precious natural world of the Galapagos Islands and their Marine Reserve……

Just like the dolphins, it was also time for our lunch, which we enjoyed (great sea-bass, grilled with herbs, Ecuadorian style white rice; a host of salads, fruit and cake), all nicely prepared by Benito, our Chef. As our yacht headed to the rarely seen east coast of the mysterious and largely barren Marchena Island, near Punta Espejo, we savored lunch with the added joy of having just had a life-time experience… Through our agitated conversation, we couldn’t stop hailing the natural wonderland (and sea) which the Enchanted Galapagos Islands offer to those privileged to visit its magic world…….

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