HELLO from Guayaquil! We returned to Guayaquil last night after a week in the amazing Galapagos Islands. I’ve never experienced more tame wildlife in my life. After so many years about reading about this place, it was a treat for us to finally come and spend our honeymoon here. Just us and a few thousand of the world’s most friendly wildlife species!

We went diving one day and swam with hammerhead sharks (which was a bit scary for me, but exhilarating), numerous marine turtles, white tip reef sharks, sting rays, sea lions and more. Unlike the graceful reef sharks, the hammerheads are so quick so you never know where they are. The best was swimming with a sea lion at the end of our second dive. He was so curious about us, playfully checking us out with his huge eyes swimming around and underneath us. He was especially curious about Kevin. A Galapagos turtle came mask to nose with me before heading over to our dive master and taking a playful bite out of his head. It was as if he had a personal vendetta with the dive master! Fortunately he was fine.

The boat, the BELUGA, was a great experience. The highlight was crossing the equator at sunset on the west side of Isabela Island – all 15 of us were standing with the captain watching the GPS unit, waiting for latitude 0 when we saw a set of dorsal fins pop out of the water. The amazing whale shark was feeding at the equator. His HUGE mouth was open to capture all the plankton in the upwelling waters and we happened to be passing at the right moment. I could have fit inside his mouth,it was so huge. We were all screeching with excitement over the giant fish.

Just as we thought this was the best moment ever, we saw a manta (the biggest ray in the sea) feeding in the same area, and then the grand finale: a tropical whale was spitting water through his blow hole! All with a red and pink equatorial sunset asa backdrop. George, our bartender dressed in his silver and black bartender vest, brought us all a cocktail to celebrate. El Capitan spent an hour chasing the whale shark so we could coo and aw over this magnificent creature. Monica, our naturalist, was a wealth of knowledge and was just as excited to see the whale shark as us. It had been 2 years since she had last seen one. Monica has been a naturalist here for 14 years so our experience would not have been the same without her. Her understanding, passion, enthusiasm and knowledge allowed us an in-depth understanding of the islands.

Katie and Kevin Hickey