People say that, in Life, it is not the destination that matters, but the journey itself. I found that so true yesterday as we navigated from Quito to Isabela Island, Galapagos. This week, also, I am changing my blog name to Bananas and Sea Lions. 😊
After ten forms of transport, starting at 4:30 AM in Quito yesterday, we finally made it to Isabela Island. However, it was the journey I will remember most.
We said goodbye to Bea, our Spanish translator for the week, and began to navigate ourselves to the Galapagos. Bea planned an incredible week for us in Quito, Chilotoa, Papallacta. We were so blessed to be with her, so when we found out she was going to be in the Galapagos this weekend? Well, we kinda tagged along, but had to cut the umbilical cord since we're not BC students.
So, Tim and I are winging the Galapagos. A “go with God” journey in that neither one of us had the time to plan the trip in full detail, and sometimes enjoy the unplanned nature of excursions, leaving room for spontaneity. This is risky, I know, but at every turn, there has been a smiling face to help us, and all I can do is marvel at Life's beauty -- both natural and human.
Finding a taxi to get to the pier at Puerto Ayura? No problem. Someone else’s tour guide took us under their wing and got us a ride.
When we told him we had no tickets to the boat sailing from Santa Cruz to Isabela — the longest and most important part of our journey — he told our driver to take us directly to a travel agent. Of course, it is “high season” and we had no idea we’d have trouble getting tickets picturing something like a Woods Hole in Martha’s Vineyard. I heard the grim news in a detached way, knowing we’d get there somehow.
Well, Puerto Ayura is not Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard. Actually not even a little bit. When we explained to our travel agent, Ariel, that we had no tickets, his eyes bulged. “Today is a very busy day. High season. I’m sorry,” he said looking down. “But I will try.” Right there about sums it up for me. No, no, no! Impossible! But I will try. My life’s message. I’m terrible at taking no for an answer so just said, “Muchos gracias!”
One — I wanted to thank him in advance for getting us not one or two but FOUR tickets, keeping the faith that it would happen.
Two — that’s all I really know how to say!
Right away, Ariel called ten different people, but hung up the phone each time with a sad look on his face. Then he jumped on his bike to talk to friends at the pier, returned and called more people. After about 45 minutes, he hung up the phone with a smile, “We have a boat!”
Thrilled and relieved, we left, walked around the pier, had lunch and met Ariel back at his office, which consisted of two desks, two chairs, a few hanging wet suits, a giant poster of the Galapagos, stacks of free maps and a whirring fan, struggling to blow enough air to cool the sweat dripping all over us. Tim and Josie were both wearing jeans in the 200 degree weather. No comment.
At the exact time of 1:30, we headed back to see Ariel who then walked us to the pier to meet his friends. The pier was chaos, but in a beautiful way. Security in the Galapagos is at every checkpoint. God forbid you have some random piece of fruit lying in your bag that will carry over a stowaway bug that will then run amuck on the most delicate ecosystem in the world.
After we got to security through the airport, they lock tied our bags so no one could put anything into the bags after that, and they sprayed pesticides all of the bags in our overhead compartments. Walking from the airport into Galapagos National Park, we had to step into a foamy solution to clean our shoes. I thought it was a puddle at first so I dodged it. Josie and Frankie both yelled at me, “Mom! Step in it!”
Side note: Did I tell you they charged us $20 each at the airport before embarking on the plane? $100 each upon arrival to Baltra Airport to get into the Galapagos? Another $10 each just to step foot on Isabela Island? It costs us $520 just for entry fees? Another “uplanned” feature of our trip.
Stepping off the tiny boat taxi that precariously carried us and our bags one on top of the other at the bow of the boat, we were greeted by iguanas and sea lions bathing in the afternoon sun. We saw sea lions who had climbed up onto boats docked in the harbor. The people here are used to it. They’re not afraid of humans. All they care about is to basque in that sunny spot. And they do.
The rule here is to stay 2 meters away from the animals, but that’s hard, particularly when they’re walking right up to you! Also, no flash photography. It startles them.
Yes, we did finally arrive at Hotel Albemarle to enjoy the sunset, but the day itself, filled with adventure, meeting people, relying on others, having faith, sometimes fighting, and overcoming odds is what really matters in Life.
Yes, it is about the JOURNEY!
(Although nice to have finally gotten here, too, and to see Bea again here on the island.)