The Galapagos Islands: A Dream Come True (Part 2)

Some of the photos in this post were taken by our guide, Maya Homberger, who has given me permission to use them.

If you haven’t read part 1 yet, you can find it here.

Genovesa Island

One of the things that blew my mind, on our 8-day cruise through The Galapagos Islands, was how very unique and different each island was from all the rest. This trend continued, as the Yacht Angelito took us up to the northernmost Galapagos Island, Genovesa.

Genovesa The Galapagos Islands

Genovesa (Bird Island)

Genovesa is sometimes called, Bird Island, and for good reason. When we first arrived, I looked up and the sky was half blacked out by wings and feathers

As we explored the island, we had the chance to see several different types of birds up close. Whereas, we had the opportunity to spend time with the blue footed boobies, back on North Seymour Island, Genovesa gave us the chance to see the other two types of galapagos boobies; The red footed boobie and the nazca boobie.

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When we reached the northern coast of Genovesa, Maya told us that we may be able to find a rare bird, the galapagos owl. The owl is hard to spot because it blends in with the surroundings and it’s usually standing completely still.

Maya made things interesting by putting together a little friendly competition. She said that the first person to spot a galapagos owl would win a beer. Even though, I wasn’t drinking at this time, I still wanted to win one for my Dad. A bit of competition always gets me fired up. I went to work scanning the horizon for the elusive owl.

Galapagos Island - Genovesa

Searching for the galapagos owl

We kept our eyes peeled, as we walked further and further along the coast, with no luck. The area we were searching was so vast and due to the fact that we had to stay on the path, much of the land that we were surveying was a great distance away.

It seemed like an impossible task, but we didn’t give up. After walking for some time, we stopped to take a rest. I had just sat down to enjoy the scenery when I heard someone scream. It was Maya. She was screeching with excitement. She found an owl. It was inside a crevice, no more than 10 feet from where we were sitting.

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The Power Of Scarcity

I found it interesting how we all wanted to find this owl so badly and how we were so excited once we found it. What made this owl so special? Yes, it’s a beautiful creature, but there were 1000’s of beautiful birds on Genovesa. We didn’t scream and celebrate when we saw one of the 1000’s of sea birds that were flying above us.

The only difference is that Maya told us that this owl is very rare. This was a great reminder for me. The perception of scarcity builds value. Challenge creates desire. People want what they can’t have.  This is a beneficial principal to keep in mind, not just in sales and business, but in any situation in our lives where we wish to influence people.

Santiago Island

Santiago was another very beautiful island, in it’s own unique way. We took a spectacular hike along the coast, walking on volcanic rock and black sand beaches. On this island, we saw the galapagos fur seal, which is a different species than the galapagos sea lion, which we had already seen in abundance around the Galapagos Islands. These fur seals were similar to the seals I saw back in Antarctica.

Galapagos Island SantiagoGalapagos Islands Fur Seal Galapagos Islands Marine Iguana

It started raining quite hard, but the temperature was still warm, so it didn’t become uncomfortable. I think that the morning shower just added to the dramatic effects of the island. In addition, we later received a nice gift, in the form of a rainbow.

Santiago Galapagos Islands

Rainbow over Santiago

Natural Selection

Along the hike, we passed by the corpses of several dead marine iguanas. Maya explained that this is natural selection in action. In the beginning, all of the animals of a given species, no matter the island they lived on, were all very similar. However, each island of the Galapagos has it’s own unique conditions.

When weather conditions were ideal and food supply was abundant, most of the animals would survive. However, when times were tough, it was only the animals best able to adapt that survived. This is why nowadays, the land iguanas, for example, are slightly different on each of the islands.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” – Charles Darwin

I’m not sure if you caught what I just wrote. I didn’t say that it was the strongest animals that survive, nor the smartest. It’s the animals best able to adapt that become most successful. This is the exact same with human beings. It’s the people who are best able to adapt to change, who become most successful. In an upcoming post, I will be sharing my thoughts on the idea that many people today are entering the 21st century, with 20th century thinking and why this is a problem.

Rabda Island

Rabda Island greeted us with a nice red sand beach.

Rabda Island - Galapagos Islands

The views on the other side of the island were incredible as well.

Rabda - Galapagos Island

My Dad enjoying the nice breeze and even nicer view

After sweating up a storm, hiking in the hot afternoon sun, we tossed on our snorkel gear and hopped in the water to cool off. I wasn’t underwater long before I met a cute, whiskery, new friend.

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Snorkeling Galapagos

Go Dad

Santa Cruz Island

Now, at the halfway point of our cruise, we returned to where we first started, Santa Cruz Island. Our first stop was the Darwin Research Centre. The main draw here, are the notorious galapagos giant tortoises.

Turtles Darwin Research Centre Galapagos Islands

Some turtles having some fun

Baby turtles - Galapagos Islands

Baby turtles

Between excursions, we were given some time to connect to the internet for the first time since we hopped on the cruise ship. I used this opportunity to book my flight out of the Galapagos Islands. I would be catching the same flight as my Dad, which left a few hours after the end of our cruise.

Originally, I was planning on staying for an additional week in the Galapagos, to do some more diving and to explore some of the other islands that our cruise did not visit. However, as amazing as the Galapagos Islands are, 10 days was sufficient for me, for this trip at least. I know I’ll come back one day to take a cruise that covers the islands that I missed this time.

Wild Tortoise Farm

Our second excursion on Santa Cruz was a trip into the highlands, where we explored a local farm, which had some wild tortoises scattered across the property. The tortoises don’t actually belong to the farm. They are free and wild. They just naturally travel across these farms, so the owners have made a businesses out of allowing tour groups to visit.

Galapagos Islands

We make one good looking pair of tortoises 🙂

Galapagos Islands

We finished off the day with a short hike through a lava tunnel. There were a few tight spaces to squeeze through, so most of us emerged from the tunnel quite a bit dirtier than when we entered.

Lava tunnel galapagos islands

Me, my Dad, and a lava tunnel

Gratitude For My Father

I woke up from a dream the next morning, overcome with sadness. In my dream, our trip had come to an end and I had to say goodbye to my Dad. As the end of our father-son adventure was fast approaching, I had been reflecting often about how lucky I was to be traveling around the world with my father and I’d been feeling a lot of gratitude for how amazing of a father I have. These thoughts must have carried over into my dream.

We may not have always saw things eye to eye growing up. He may have made some mistakes. He may have said some things that I didn’t appreciate. He may have struggled to believe in me and my “different” way of thinking, at first. He may not have raised me “perfectly.” However, I know that he did the absolute best job that he possibly could, to be the best father he could be, and I love him for that.

“If you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that god expects you to do.” – Jeffrey R. Holland

I think the problem we have, is that as children, we see our parents almost like gods and we therefore expect them to be perfect. We hold them to a standard that would be impossible for anyone to fulfill. When the truth is, they are just people, with their own sets of problems and difficulties.

For many of us, our parents had never been parents before we were born. They didn’t have any experience with being responsible for another human beings life. They didn’t have all the answers. They were figuring things out as they went.

I think that it is important for us to understand this and to really embrace this idea. To move forward and move on, we must let go of the unrealistic expectations that we have of our parents and understand that they did the best they could, with the knowledge and ability they had. Otherwise, they would have done things differently.

As children, we collect “emotional scars” when we feel our parents let us down. We create limiting beliefs about ourselves, based on things that our parents said to us or the way they acted toward us. And whether we know it or not, most of us have carried these “scars” with us into adulthood and they are still affecting us today.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Ghandi

The only way to start healing these scars is to first become aware that they are there and then to forgive. I recommend that after you finish reading this post, you take some time alone to do this. Dig deep and find your emotional scars. Find those moments where your parents or other adults who were close to you, let you down. Find the memories where your limiting beliefs were first created.

Did your parents always criticize you and make you feel like you were never good enough? Did they never tell you they loved you or show affection, so you decided you don’t deserve love? Were they so busy with work that you felt they were never there for you? Do you feel like they pressured you into a career path that you do not love? Were there promises that were broken? Or maybe things were much worse for you?

Whether your parents are still alive or have passed on, relive these moments and find forgiveness within yourself. The best way to truly forgive is to stop believing that what they did even requires forgiveness. However, even if you don’t believe they deserve your forgiveness, try to forgive them anyways, not for their sake, but for your own.”

“Forgiveness does not excuse their actions. Forgiveness stops their actions from destroying your heart” – www.notsalmon.com

I’ve done this process several times before and I just did it again now. Each and every time I cry. So if you do this and you cry, let the tears flow. Do your best with it. If you aren’t ready to forgive yet, then just play with this idea and you can always come back to it later.

So as I traveled with my father, earlier this year, I began to realize that I no longer focus on the mistakes my father may have made in the past, like I used to. When I think about him now, all I focus on are the countless positive things that he has added to my life and to who I have become. I think about how great of a life I have today because of the influence that he’s had on me.

I think about how much of an inspiration he is to me and how far he’s come in transforming his own life over the past few years. I see him as a man that I can aspire to be like and who I am proud to call my father. As I wrote above, I don’t believe that anyone ever does a “perfect” job of parenting, but looking back on my life, I do believe that my father was the perfect father for me.

Part 3 will be coming soon. Follow my blog to make sure you don’t miss it. Enter your e-mail in the sidebar now and never miss another post!

The Galapagos Islands: A Dream Come True (Part 1)
The World Has Changed: Let Go Of 20th Century Thinking

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