Crossing the Pacific ~

After our time in  the Galapagos, we left for French Polynesia. The first sign of life was a huge whale shark that Katelyn spotted first. Then, we saw a huge pod of dolphins, so large you could see them for miles. The next few days we did not see much, but then we started getting bites on our fishing lures.

After some unsuccessful fishing, I made my own lures with epoxy resin and silicone molds. The next day we hooked two fish at a time. They were 2’ long. Kay caught the one she reeled in. The one I reeled in fell off. A couple days later we hooked a marlin, but it got off. Then we caught a mahi big enough for two people. Later we hooked a short bill spearfish, but it slid back in the water before we gaffed it. After that we caught another spearfish and kept it. We filled our freezer. A few days later we hooked two giant yellow fin tuna simultaneously. One got off; the other jam-packed our freezer and filled our tummies. We caught a skipjack and bigeye tuna the next few days and arrived in French Polynesia. As we came in, it was a little rainy and foggy, but it was the coolest island yet.

Isabela ~ Katelyn

After leaving Santa Cruz, we set course for Isabela, the last island in the Galapagos. When we got there, we saw sea lions and penguins almost immediately. The penguins are the only type to live so close to the equator. They are also the smallest type alive and there are only a few thousand left, due to not enough food in the Galapagos. We were boarded by some officials and went into town with them to see Isabela. The first day, we walked on a path that was flooded with water. We saw an octopus crawling on the wooden planks and it got really close to my dad’s feet.  We had to jump over sea lions to get to the end, which was scary since they growled at you whenever you got to close. We saw some marine iguanas swimming and they looked like snakes, waving their tales back and forth, slithering across the top of the water. 

The third day, our family and two people from another boat went on a volcano hike. It was the biggest volcano I had ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of volcano’s. It was a hard and steep hike, but it was definitely worth it. I wouldn’t know how to describe what it looked like, so its a good thing my mom took lots of pictures. It took almost eight hours, and our legs were like jelly afterwards. Our parents complained about how hard the walk was more than the kids, and we ran down the mountain. 

We also went on another tour called “the tunnels.” We had a forty-five minute boat ride and saw huge manta rays jump out of the water. We also saw some sea lions on the way. The tunnels were really cool, with lots of blue footed boobies, and sharks. We saw some turtles too. After we walked on the tunnels for a little bit, we swam in them. We saw tons of turtles, sharks, and even two eels. It was really cool.

We spent a few days doing very little, just going into town. At night, we would put our hammock right above the water and place a light right by it. Sharks and sea lions would come to eat the small bait fish that were attracted to the light. We even had a pelican or two. Some penguins would come and there was always pufferfish. I was always scared the sea lion would bite me, I was so close. I even got a foot away from a penguin at one point. 

After a few days of this, we stocked up and prepared to cross the Pacific. When we were fully stocked up, we picked up anchor and headed out. Only minutes away from leaving, my dad spotted a spear fish jumping out of the water. I came outside to look, and saw a huge whale shark only five feet from our boat. It was almost as big as our boat, and was swimming at the top of the water.  It was so huge, I thought we were running over a reef. Michael saw it pretty good, but my parents came later and only saw the tail.

Santa Cruz ~ Michael

On the way to Santa Cruse we first spotted dolphins.

We saw tons of them and they were huge. After that we saw brown things in the water. I said they were sea lions but no one believed me. It turned out they where sea lions. Thousands of sea lions and dolphins surrounded our boat.

Once we got there, we thought to see penguins, sea lions, or seals, but there was nothing. We went into town to get groceries and meet our friends. That night we ate at a seafood restaurant that put all of their tables in the middle of the street.

They had a lot of weird fish on the table. We ate a half of a skipjack tuna and a couple slipper lobsters. After that we went to eat a few more times at that place and tried some desserts they served. We also went to some lava tunnels, about 60 meters long each (just short tunnels). We also saw some tortoises. We also saw some volcanic craters. After that we left to the next island not seeing much else.

San Cristobal ~ Katelyn

We came into San Cristobal’s bay at ten in the morning. We were boarded by ten people who checked our boat pretty thoroughly. Luckily, nothing was confiscated, but our friends on Aghavni lost some passion fruit. We would have gone into town immediately, but we had to build our sea lion barriers. We were told that they made quite a mess (later proved to be true) and that they would climb onto your boat at night.

After we built our barriers, we took a water taxi to shore. You were not allowed to use your dinghy, so we had to pay four dollars every time we went to and from shore. We saw so many sea lions it was unbelievable. We watched them jump four feet out of the water and realized our barriers wouldn’t be sufficient. The sea lions reminded all of us of water dogs: they have whiskers, they bark, they play with each other, and they growl (mainly at us). We were so tempted to snuggle with them until they showed their teeth and started growling. One time, while we were walking, a sea lion started chasing my dad. While sea lions are slow on land, they are as fast as lightning in the water. It was incredible how fast they could swim. 

The first time we stepped ashore, we saw a blue footed booby, a marine iguana, a sea lion, a lava lizard, and multiple crabs right next to each other. In just a few minutes of being there, we saw five different types of animals. That night, we had dinner at a sushi restaurant with our friends on Aghavni. The next day we went hiking and snorkeling. We saw frigate birds, turtles, marine iguanas, sea lions, and lots of little reef fish. We had a little visitor on our boat that night, and he made a big mess. We adjusted our barriers so they could get on the back of our boat but no farther. Every time we went outside we would hear our “pet” growl at us. We recognized him every time by the scar on his face (I tried to name him Will, but everyone else just called him Scar-Face).

One day, we went to go see the giant Galapagos Tortoises. They were so big, I could ride them. They were so familiar in a way, and I spent hours trying to remember where I had seen something like this before. Then it hit me, my parents! They were exactly like my parents, unbelievably slow and they ate constantly. We walked around the reserve and saw baby giant tortoises the size of my hand. Hard to believe they would become as big as me. The next day, we went to a beach and snorkeled with our friends on Seahorse. We saw some sea turtles and reef fish. The next day, we left San Cristobal and started towards Santa Cruz.