• Leif Enrique Salinas

Galápagos Islands

Updated: Oct 15, 2021

I am now back from Galápagos where I spent 4 weeks. Only now do I realise how fast it went. While I was there though, time definitely moved slower.

It has been a paradise to photograph in. Especially life underwater has been spectacular. I spent most of my days hiking, snorkeling and observing wildlife. The thing I spent the most photographing was diving blue-footed boobies (photo at the bottom). It took me a couple of days to get the perfect shot of the bird just entering the water. It is moments and places like these I really enjoy, just sitting, waiting, observing nature and trying to get a perfect shot.

From a wildlife photographers perspective The Galápagos is magical.

To be able to stay for a month I worked at a hotel in exchange for a room. The work was easily done, just had to wake up early everyday, starting at 6am to prepare the breakfast. Then I had the day free until the evening shift. In the evening there was almost nothing to do so, so a lot of the time I read and made my dinner. It has been enjoyable being stationary in one place, in contrast to moving on every few days. Galápagos is quite a safe place with almost no crime. Usually while travelling I’m always very aware, and keep my belongings safe. In The Galápagos they count their money openly on the street after having been to the ATM.

After two weeks at the hotel in San Cristobal, I took 6 days off to see the other islands. I went by speed boat, San Cristobal to Santa Cruz, and then on to Isla Isabela. About a two hour bumpy ride, each leg, with three engines roaring at the back. Very noisy I have to say.

Isla Isabela is the biggest island, but has the smallest town. Santa Cruz is the smallest island, and but the biggest town. Buzzing night life, with lots of bars & restaurants. San Cristobal where I was, was a calmer place which I enjoyed.

The hight of my trip came when I was snorkelling outside Seymour, in the Canal Norte where I came across two gigantic manta rays. First I could see its wing on the surface, but under water it was still to far away for me to see. So I waited, hoping it would drift down to me. Then it appeared, flying through the water in slow motion. A rush went through my body. It was very humbling being next to a grand creature like that. It was a big one as well, around 4 meters wide.

I didn’t have my camera with me, which was a bit of a shame. But it was alright. Sometimes the camera can take away from the experience. In that I’m more worried about getting my shot instead of just being in the moment and enjoying it. And this moment I truly enjoyed, what an amazing creature to see and to be next to.

In the end it has been an incredible experience with a lot of wildlife encounters. It really does something with the harmony of the place and yourself. I spent my last afternoon on The Galápagos surfing with some friends. Only my second time surfing but I love the sport so much already. Just being in the ocean has such a good effect me. Specially when you are joined by sea lions and sea turtles while waiting for waves.

I am now on the coast of Ecuador, and I’m planning to stay a couple of weeks here. Catch some more waves. The weather is not that good though, mostly cloudy and we’re in the two coldest months of the year. By the end of this month I’m going to go east back to Quito and then into the Amazon and hopefully reach Iquitos in Peru. That’s the idea anyways.

Until next time,

Leif Enrique

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