The Easy Way to Tour South America Lazy dad, hyper mum, four kids (one in nappies) tour South America for 6 months

The Easy Way to Tour South America
Swims With Sea Lions
Sharks, be afraid...
Sharks, be afraid…
Yesterday I played with a sea lion in the ocean. He danced in front of me for a good few minutes, invited me to follow, then shot off faster than I could hope to swim. And it was definitely play. He swam around me, ducked in and out in a game of chase that he knew I could never win. I swear he was grinning. As far as experiences I’ve had with nature are concerned, that one would be tough to beat. 



The highlight of our stay in the Galapagos was without doubt the day trip out and snorkelling at Leon Dormido off the coast of San Cristobal island. Our charismatic guide, cold-turkey photographer Victor, somehow managed to be both excited and nonchalant at the same time, while sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for the sea and photography with us. He also declared his love for women. The women on board seemed neither threatened nor interested by this.

As we had all taken our sea-sickness pills, there were no repeat performances of the vomiting that had occurred on our boat ride to San Cristobal the previous day. We went first to a closer cove, where Alvaro joined us for his first snorkelling experience. There is little more beautiful than to be sharing with your children their first experiences of some of nature’s wonders. As Paola had held Omar’s hand in Cuba for his first snorkel, so Alvaro and I held hands as he first started to roam around the sea in his snorkelling gear and watch the abundant sea life. Paola was with him and Omar as they had their first experience of a playful sea lion darting at and around them.

But then the piece de resistance. The boat took us out and away from San Cristobal to the outcrops of rock known as Leon Dormido. Sitting atop and in front of the yacht while it was pelting across seas bluer and clearer than any artificial pool or spa could ever equal is a wonderfully free feeling that I struggle to match in my memory. We approached the rocks at speed, and a sudden deceleration signalled that we should start looking for the large turtles after which the islands were named.

As the boat circled the rocks, Victor called out he names of birds as they appeared on ledges or overhead, while his second in command pointed into the water for turtles and sea lions. But that paled into noise when compared with putting on our snorkelling gear and stepping out into the sea.

It was cold. Unsurprisingly, swimming and the adrenalin of what we were seeing put an end to that. We swam around the rock to get used to the sea there, and submerged many times to join the large turtles below, albeit for seconds. But then Victor announced that we would swim between the rocks, where we would be most likely to see the sharks. Which we predictably did. A long way below us, but we all saw them, and knew that they could get to the top and pluck us out faster than any of us would be able to decide which God to shout to for help. What a beautifully chilling experience. Coming out again after lunch, I had Eagle Rays within touching distance below me in the water, and what I suspect where hammerhead sharks in the murky distance below.

I felt really proud of my eldest boys, who at the ages of 7 and 9 had experienced this dive and dared to swim in places where few of their peers would have had the chance. And after years of seemingly exclusive focus on work and children, it felt fantastic to be sharing something like this with Paola. This trip is full of unanticipated bonuses.


5 Responses to Swims With Sea Lions

  1. http://www./ says:

    Lovely post. More than the fries i love the fabulous color and texture of that pandan coconut custard. I want it so bad. I dunno where i will get it in my part of that world..but i see many thai bloggers post recipes made with that. I so want to get my hands on it!

  2. On sent un tout une grande détresse dans ce message…Ce n’est pas par-ce qu’une majorité des gens ont une vie ET sociale ET virtuelle (et encore, pas forcément…) qu’il faut leur dédier une telle jalousie…C’est étrange tout de même de juger aussi facilement les gens lorsque l’on a rien d’autre à faire que d’aller mettre un commentaire sur une page comme celle-ci…Bref, ce n’est qu’un point de vue

  3. http://www./ says:

    Love your spooky Gothic mantel, Shannon! Thanks for sharing mine too! Mantels are my favorite decorative focal point…and I see so many amazing links! Great party! 😉

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  5. http://www./ says:

    IdStyle, you’re very welcome. I’m glad my blog post has put the AGO at the top of your to do list. Have fund and let me know how your visit goes.

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