Monday, June 22, 2015

Honeymoon Encounter With a Hammerhead Shark in Galapagos

Vote. That's what we asked our wedding guests to do. Vote on our honeymoon destination. We gave them six options and there was a tie--my mother had voted twice.  After a brief hem and haw session, she chose Bali. Yes, Bali was the winner. But the only month we could take proper time for a honeymoon (I'm talking about 3 weeks) was during Bali's rainy season. So, Galapagos became our honeymoon destination. We also spent a few days before in Quito, Ecuador and a few days after in Banos, Ecuador, which made for the perfect itinerary.

We cruised for 7 nights/8 days on the luxury yacht, Beluga. ( on the Tower Itinerary.  If you plan a Galapagos cruise, you will soon become an expert in choosing a western itinerary, eastern or perhaps a combination.

During the first excursion, we spotted a Flamingo eating (apparently they eat about 12 hours a day). We live in Florida and had never seen one--a fact that stunned our on-board naturalist, Juan Tapia (amazing, amazing, amazing at what he does:

I made new friends, too--lots and lots and lots of sea lion friends. If only I could have gotten one home. We do have a pool and a lake right outside!  We kept away from the male seal lions, who could be a little aggressive sometimes. And who can blame them--each is on his own, protecting his whole beach-full of females against any challenging males that might swim in.


See my camera? It worked great five years ago on a safari to Tanzania (see my post "A" is for Attitude). But it paled in comparison to Juan's with its 50 zoom and crystal clear shots. So... next trip will include enough budgeting for a new camera!

The marine and land iguanas in the Galapagos were works of art. Just stunning.

Make sure to bring a waterproof camera to take snorkeling. The Beluga provided snorkeling excursions (and equipment) daily. Being in the water with these little Galapagos Penguins (and sea lions, of course) was a lot of fun.

And also fun were all the birds in the Galapagos. I could do several posts just about them. They might have been the most fascinating of the wildlife on our trip.  On the Beluga's farewell survey, we marked Genovesa Island as our favorite given the exposure to the birds.  It was hard to pick a favorite, though. Each island offers something unique. There was an excursion to Sullivan Bay at Santiago Island that made you feel as if you were walking on the moon. It had incredible lava formations and patterns. But back to the birds... there is one bird that the locals make some money on--Boobies.

Blue-Footed Boobie
Baby Boobie

Red-Footed Boobie

Pair of Nazca Boobies
Yes, I gave in... 

What wasn't all the way fun at the moment it happened was a Hammerhead Shark. Juan told us we might be seeing some on a particular snorkeling excursion. I figured they'd be deep down or that maybe it was a rare occurrence.  Well... a large gray body with fins (it seemed just about everywhere) passed under me. I stared harder, trying to make sense of what I was seeing. A head (a hammer head!) swayed left of the body. I screamed for my husband. He didn't hear at first given how far he'd drifted. When he came over, he took off in the direction of the shark. I thought he'd lost his mind. We didn't have a working underwater camera. None was needed for me. The image of that head and that body is burned into my brain (cliche, but true!)  But, guess what? I swam with a Hammerhead Shark on my honeymoon!

What memorable travel moments are burned into your brain?


  1. Wow! Did you see a short-eared owl on Tower Island?

  2. Yes! Took forever to spot it given how well it blended in with the landscape. Did you see one as well?