ECUADOR

Exploring Marine Life in the Galapagos Islands

marine life in the Galapagos is a-ma-zing!

Before my trip to the Galapagos I never really thought about how diverse the marine ecosystem is. The Gulf of Riga in Latvia, where I originally come from, is quite shallow and not known for its snorkeling and scuba diving attractions (to put it mildly). So I never really considered the fact that there’s a whole new world under the water that is still mainly undiscovered. In fact, about 90% of the marine species still remain unknown, and to me, when I snorkeled for the first time in my life in the Galapagos, everything was unknown.
Marine life in Ecuador
First, of course, there were fishes. Many fishes. Of sizes and colours that I only saw on Discovery Channel before. I was down there with them, slowly breast stroking in my pink snorkeling gear, afraid to somehow touch them or attract their attention. White, black, yellow, with stripes, with spots, with all kinds of appearances, pouting their lips and looking like they were going to eat me. And they tried, actually – I swam into a tiny group of fish that started tickling me so much that I’m afraid I drank a bit too much salty water from laughing.
Group of fish underwater in Galapagos
Spying fish in Galapagos
Of course, everything is alive in the ocean. And everything that is alive usually wants to eat you. Even things that look dead, or look like harmless plants, are actually animals, so beware. Stones, for example, are fully covered in weirdly looking blotches, which I first thought were plants. Touched them slightly only once, and they were already greedily swallowing my fingers.
Marine life in Ecuador
Still marine life in Galapagos
Since I was in the open ocean, and because I’m not really a good swimmer, snorkeling for the first time was a bit difficult. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I was wearing a life vest and holding a rope aaaaall the time so that the ocean streams wouldn’t tear me away from everybody. But then once, that rope, a life savior for me, seemed like a perfect toy to play with for one particular sea lion. It grabbed the rope’s end and refused to let go, playfully rolling over itself millions and millions of times, as if making fun of all of us. As expected, I started laughing again, which forced me to go up for some air.
Swimming with sea lions
Even though sea lions are very cute indeed, on the ground they might get a bit aggressive. I remember I went to a restaurant on Santa Cruz in the Galapagos, and there I saw two sea lions sunbathing on a beach bed. First thing I did, obviously, was approach them to take a picture. But instead of having a photo session, I was running away under the sound of loud roaring coming from insulted sea lions. I was super scared, I’m not gonna lie. You need to remember that sea lions can get very territorial and that they are very protective of their cubs, so approaching them too closely is never a good idea. Still, every time I see one, I can’t help myself but think how nice it would be to hug them.
Sea lion in Galapagos
Snorkeling and exploring marine life in Galapagos was definitely one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. I can’t wait to try it again one day!! But over to you: what was YOUR most memorable underwater experience?
 
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