Some of the photos in this post were taken by our guide, Maya Homberger, who has given me permission to use them.
There’s good reason why Bahía Gardner beach on Espanola Island is considered one of the “must see” beaches in the world. This long, white sand beach, full of lazy seals, is a beautiful site to behold. Bahía Gardner was the first of two excursions we had on my favourite island of the Galapagos, Espanola.
Unlike every other landing of the cruise, there was no hike scheduled for this morning. We were given a few hours to just relax on the beach, hang out with the seals, and do our own thing.
One of the highlights that I’ll never forget, is when we had three young juvenile seals come play with us in the shallows. This was something I don’t get to experience every day.
And this was just the beginning. Later that afternoon we landed on the other side of Espanola to see the Galapagos (Waved) Albatross. I had seen some of these magical birds on my way to Antarctica and I was very excited to meet them again.
Just as we were incredibly fortunate to witness the Blue Footed Boobie’s mating dance, back on North Seymour Island, we were lucky once again, and got to experience a few pairs of Albatross’s doing their own mating dance.
Maya called this area the Albatross Airport, since this is where the Albatross’s take off to fly. They are such large and heavy birds that they need to drop off a cliff in order to take to the air.
Looking out over the cliffs of the “Albatross Airport,” was one of the most stunning sights I’d seen so far in the Galapagos Islands.
Santa Fe Island
As soon as we landed on Santa Fe Island we came across a pair of Galapagos Hawks.
After seeing these hawks, Maya told us that we’d now seen every animal that is possible to see on our itinerary, except for two. The only species that had still escaped us up until now were the Galapagos Snake and the Galapagos Rat.
Just like that, my competitive spirit was back. I wanted to find these last two animals, so I could leave the Galapagos Islands knowing that I’d seen everything possible. I set the intention that we’d find them and started feeling really excited because I knew that it wouldn’t be long before we did.
And then look what we found…
As you can tell by the next picture, we waited around and watched for a while.
As we made our way back to The Angelito, I asked Maya if I could jump off the ship. She said that this was the only location on the entire trip that she could say yes. With every other place that we set anchor, there’s the chance of having sharks circling the boat.
So I jumped…
South Plaza Island was the final island that we would be visiting. Once we arrived, Maya gave us yet another challenge. Now that we thought we’d seen every animal possible, she told us that there’s actually one more that she hadn’t told us about, which can only be found on this island. However, it’s VERY rare. She was talking about the Land/Marine Hybrid Iguana.
Again, I wanted to find this animal really badly and again I set the intention that we’d come across this final species. And look what we found…
Just kidding… This is a normal land iguana. Unfortunately, we never did find the hybrid. I was OK with that though. It just means I have to return to the Galapagos Islands again some day.
We did pass by a unique area that Maya called Bachelor Rock. With sea lion colonies, there is only one male in each harem, so the males must fight each other to win dominance. Bachelor Rock is where the unsuccessful male seals come to recover and regain their strength.
Good Bye Galapagos Islands
Sadly, our time in the Galapagos Islands was coming to an end. For our last dinner, the chef prepared some nice surprises for us. I thought they were quite cute.
The Amazing Angelito
What can I saw about the Yacht Angelito? I was thoroughly impressed with everything. The food was delicious and abundant. The accommodations onboard were nice. I know that there are other cruises in the Galapagos that offer more of a luxury experience, but compared to what I’m used to, this was luxury for me.
What took this tour to the next level though, was the guide, Maya. She was phenomenal. After reading countless positive reviews about her on trip advisor, my expectations were high, but she exceeded all of them. And for all of this, the ship is priced very reasonably compared to many other comparable options in the Galapagos.
Overall, I’d highly recommend the Angelito for anyone who is looking for a comfortable, exciting experience, without spending a fortune.
A Mentor Right In Front Of Me
As my time in the Galapagos came to an end, so did my time with my father. Our 3-week father-son adventure was finally coming to a close. And what an adventure it was. I’ll never forget the time I spent hiking the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu, living in huts in the Amazon Jungle, and then exploring the wonders of the Galapagos Islands with my father.
I’m sure that there are not many people around that can say that and I am eternally grateful that I was fortunate enough to have had this opportunity. This was a highlight of my life.
As I reflect on our time together, one thing that always comes to mind is how many times during the trip I found myself admiring my father. I have spent so much time and energy of my adult life seeking out mentors. I’ve made a lot of effort to surround myself with the kinds of people who inspire me and who I can aspire to be like.
On this trip, I realized that one of the best mentors I’ve ever met has always been right in front of me. I’m talking about my father. I was so inspired by how he would start a conversation with anyone and everyone. He never tries to impress people. He just says what he wants to say and everyone he meets likes him. He was able to make friends with people of all ages and all cultures. I took him into the amazon jungle, where he was surrounded by young backpackers and he fit right in.
To think I’ve spent so much effort over the past half decade improving my social skills. This whole time, all I had to do was model after my father. In one of my previous posts, when I interview him about how he has been able to escape the rat race, he says that he calls me his mentor. Well perhaps I helped him retire from his job and reprogram his mind for business success, but I believe that he will be my mentor in the pursuit of something so much more important; becoming a real man.
A Dream Come True
I remember, as I awaited my fathers arrival with excitement and anticipation, I felt such a great desire for this trip to bring us closer together and build our relationship. The trip ended up being so fast paced that by the the time we were leaving the Galapagos, I started to question whether I had really accomplished this goal.
However, it was in our last hour together, sitting on the plane, that I knew that we’d accomplished this goal before the trip even started. On that plane I remember having a conversation with my Dad and thinking to myself, “We would never have been having a conversation like this, together, 5 years ago.”
I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but I do remember that it was real. It wasn’t just one of the surface level chats that I spent my entire life having with him.
It was in that moment that I realized that this trip may have brought us closer together, but it’s the last 5 years of work that we’ve both done on ourselves that has really built our relationship. As we both individually improved ourselves, I feel that our relationship has naturally become more open and meaningful and will continue to do so.
“The greatest gift you can give to somebody is your own personal development. I used to say, if you will take care of me, I will take care of you. Now I say, I will take care of me for you, if you will take care of you for me.” – Jim Rohn
I have said it before, but I can’t say it enough. I am so proud of my father and how far he’s come in every area of his life, over the past few years. In a previous post I talked about how he was able to retire from his full time job, replace the lost pension income with real estate investing, and has been able to build a successful business that he is passionate about, while creating the lifestyle that he wants to live.
But it’s so much more than that. He’s completely transformed as a man. He used to be closed off emotionally and now he’s open. He used to be negative and now he’s positive. He used to be closed minded and now he’s open minded. He used to be quick to anger and now he has patience. He used to roll his eyes when I talked about my big dreams and now he’s out pursuing his own.
I was recently reading “The Way Of The Superior Man” and in his book, David Deida tells the reader to go out and do one activity that they’ve been avoiding because of their father. I thought about this and I realized that there’s no longer anything that I avoid because of my Dad. I believe, deep down that he will be proud of me and love me no matter what.
And that’s a truly liberating feeling…
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