Galapagos Islands: Arriving In San Cristobal

Another dream was about to come true. I was on my way to visit the Galapagos Islands with my father. After already visiting both Machu Picchu and the Amazon Jungle with my Dad, this was our grand finale. Compared to the uncomfortable, overnight bus we took from the Amazon (My Dad did not enjoy it), I thought that hopping on a quick, 2 hour flight to the San Cristobal, in the Galapagos Islands, would be smooth sailing.

Confusion At The Quito Airport

It wasn’t. We boarded the plane and everything seemed fine. Lacking sleep, I put my head up against the window and I was out like a light, within seconds. I was thoroughly enjoying my nap until, 5 minutes later, I was woken up by my Dad and saw that everyone on the flight was disembarking. Apparently, there were protests going on at the San Cristobal Airport and our flight was being canceled.

Luckily, our cruise wasn’t leaving for another couple days, but I was quite disappointed, since if we couldn’t get there that day, I would lose my chance to dive in one of my dream diving destinations. We disembarked, as directed, but we weren’t given much guidance. When I got to the ticket booth to try to reschedule our flight, the people at the counter had no idea what was going on.

After several confusing conversations and 20 minutes of standing around, unsure of what to do, there was an announcement, for all passengers to board the plane once again. Someone had made a mistake by cancelling the flight. We were rushed through security once again, with staff yelling at us to hurry up. It wasn’t until our plane left the ground, en route to the Galapagos, that I was finally able to relax and catch some sleep.

Protests In Galapagos

When we arrived in San Cristobal, there was a large crowd of protestors out front, closing off the airport parking lot. We had to leave by the rear exit of the airport and walk 20 minutes down a dirt road until we reached the city.

The city was a ghost town. The majority of the shops were closed. There were very few cars or people on the streets. We could tell that something was off. It turns out there was an island wide strike and protest because of a new law that was passed by the Ecuadorian government.

As we walked down the empty streets, I could tell that my Dad was a little worried. I’ve travelled in countries during political unrest and I know that harming tourists is usually the last thing people want, so I felt comfortable enough.

Exploring San Cristobal Island

After getting checked in to our guesthouse, our first stop was a dive shop. The main reason we came to San Cristobal, was so that I could dive Kicker Rock. I booked a spot on a boat for the next day, at a very expensive price (That’s how it is in the Galapagos), and my Dad booked in for a snorkelling tour on the same boat.

My Dad making sure his wet suit fit

We decided that we would check out one of the more popular beaches, Las Loberias. On the way we met some seals who were hanging out in the city centre.

Galapagos San Cristobal Seal Galapagos IslandsWe were originally told that it was a 20 minute walk to Las Loberias, but 20 minutes came and went and there was still no beach in site. The people we asked must have been talking in Latin American time because it took over 45 minutes before we arrived.

Las Laberia Galapagos Islands

Las Loberia

Maybe it’s a good thing that the beach was so far away, since by the time we made it back to the city centre, it was starting to get dark and we had the chance to witness the sun setting over a seal filled beach.

Galapagos Islands Sunset

San Cristobal Sunset

Kicker Rock

The big day arrived! I was about to make my first dive, since arriving in South America. I hadn’t been 30m under water, since last fall, in the Philippines. The big blue ocean was calling to me. It had been a dream of mine for a long time, to dive in the Galapagos, and I was about to dive one of the best dive sites in the world. Without going on a live a board ship, the best two dives in the Galapagos are known to be Gordan Rock and Kicker Rock. I was about to dive Kicker Rock.

DIving in Galapagos Islands

RIMG3284-10 Getting ready for the big dive

Diving Galapagos IslandsLucky for me, I was the only diver on the boat. Everyone else was snorkelling, so it was just me and the Dive Master. The first dive was a bit rocky, as I had to get used to diving again, but it did provide me with a highlight of my diving career. I saw a hammerhead shark!

The Channel

That first dive was great, but it was nothing compared to the next one. Diving in “The Channel” of Kicker Rock was hands down the best dive of my life. I wish I had photos to share, but I don’t.

We dropped down into the channel and literally just sat there and watched one of the coolest shows I’ve ever seen. There were sharks everywhere! Sharks to my right. Sharks to my left. Sharks above me and sharks below me. There must have been well over 50 white tip and black tip sharks, swimming around with me down there.

There was more than just sharks though. Giant sea turtles floated all around me. I remember one of the biggest turtles of all, came right up close to me, looked me in the eye, and then swam away. There were sting rays and eagle rays. However, the coolest thing of all was watching a group of 5 seals, hunting nearby.

When I surfaced, I was lost for words. It was almost as if I had seen so many mind blowing things, in such a short period of time, that my mind was struggling to process it all. Diving in the Galapagos may be expensive, but what I experienced down there was well worth the price I paid.

Galapagos Island Snorkel Tour

The snorkelers

The Beach

As an added bonus to the Kicker Rock tour, we had the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful beach in the afternoon, which we had, essentially to ourselves.

Galapagos Islands Beach

Our private beach

Galapagos Islands

Hang Loose

Ferry of Death

After returning from Kicker Rock, it was time to say good bye. We had to catch a 2 hour ferry over to Santa Cruz, the main, commercial island of the Galapagos. This was where our cruise was leaving from, the following day.

Galapagos Islands - Seals

No space free on the benches, while waiting for our boat

What was to come, was definitely the least fun few hours of our time in the Galapagos Islands. Our semi-small boat got smashed by massive waves the entire time. The ocean was so rough that all of the guests had to group together at the very back of the boat and all of the luggage was moved towards the rear, to transfer the weight. Everyone was getting soaked as waves crested over the side of the boat. A few people puked. I even started feeling sick, and I am usually fine when it comes to sea sicknesses.

However, just like anything tough that we experience in life, the “storm” eventually passed and we made it to our destination. We didn’t have a whole lot of time to spend on Santa Cruz, but we did find a great place to eat dinner. There is a really interesting street called Kiosko st, which is lined up and down with restaurants. At night, tables are put out and the entire road is turned into a restaurant.

Santa Cruz Kiosko St Galapagos Islands

Eating in the middle of Kiosko Street

A Changed Man

I wrote an entire post recently, about how my Dad, not only escaped the financial rat race, but has completely transformed his life and become a different man, over the past few years. This night I saw another example of this. We did some shopping after Kiosko St and then caught a taxi home. However, when we arrived back to our guest house I realized that I had left everything that we had recently purchased, in the back of the taxi.

Immediately my Dad got quite upset about it. He went off to our room and I stayed in the lobby for a few minutes to use the internet. By the time I returned to the room, my Dad was completely over it. He said, “there’s nothing we can do about it now” and went back to enjoying his evening. This was a huge change from the Dad I used to know.

This is exactly the kind of thing that he used to let ruin his day. On this occasion he still did feel the anger come up, which is fine (We’re humans, not robots), but he let it go and moved past it. Life is too short to let little things, that don’t really matter, prevent us from enjoying ourselves.

My Process For Letting Go

I feel like I am quite good at not letting the little things (And big things) affect me as I go through life. Not that I don’t get affected at all, but I can let things go fast and move on. This was probably the key factor that allowed me to excel in business. No matter how bad things got, I was still able to step back from the storm and make the best long term decision possible. No matter what happened, I would continue to move towards my goal.

I will share what has worked for me. Whenever I make a mistake or something happens that puts me into a negative emotional state, I go through the following process. I think back to times in my past when I experienced similar negative emotions. Then I ask myself, “Of all the things that made me feel this way, 5 years ago, do any of them still matter to me today? 3 years ago? 1 year? 6 months? 1 month? 2 weeks?”

“Ask yourself this question: Will this matter to you a year from now?” Richard Carlson, Author of Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

What I generally find, is that I no longer care, whatsoever, about any of the things that seemed like such big issues in the past. The mistake I made that lost my team the game 5 years ago. The $5000 I lost because of a silly mistake I made in my business 3 years ago. The person that disappointed me 1 year ago. The girl that rejected me 6 months ago. The embarrassing situation I had 2 weeks ago.

By going through this process, I am able to show myself, that none of these things, that seemed like such big issues in the past, hold any power over me today. Therefore, why should I let whatever it is that’s affecting me today, continue to influence me, when I’m probably going to forget about it before I know it. Doing this almost always allows me to let go and move forward.

This process has not only allowed me to accomplish more, but it’s also allowed me to live happier. I doubt my father was going through this exact thought process that night, but it was so nice to see that he no longer lets the little things affect him like he used to. When I fell asleep that night I wasn’t thinking about the Galapagos cruise that we would be departing on the next morning. I fell asleep that night thinking about how very proud I am of my father.

If you enjoyed what you read, go ahead and follow my blog. Enter your e-mail in the side bar now and never miss another post!

Into The Amazon Jungle: The Samona Lodge
The Galapagos Islands: A Dream Come True (Part 1)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *