Truth #10 – My Greatest Adventure

Describe the greatest adventure you have ever been on?

I always hope the next adventure will always be the greatest adventure but there is a sense of diminishing returns with such things.

To date I would have to say that my greatest adventure was a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

galapagos reminder 3

It was one of those trips that even the journey to the adventure was an adventure. At the time I was to head to Ecuador the flight I was on was to go through Miami by way of Chicago before making its way to Ecuador. When I got to the airport the morning of the flight, O’Hare was even busier than I would have imagined. As it turned out Miami international had fallen victim to a fuel fire. In some airports this would not be a big deal but in Miami the fuel distribution system is entirely underground. So the fuel fire shut down the Miami airport.

As a result I needed to scramble to a phone to call the airline and figure out how to get to South America. My relatively simple two stop flight turned into a journey. The only way I was going to be able to arrive in time to make it to Galapagos required a very round about method.

First I left Chicago to New York landing in LaGuardia. Then I’d take a van transport to JFK. From JFK I took a flight to Santiago Chile. Stay in the airport for a 15hr layover. Then from chile to Guayaquil then on to Quito. I lost a full day in traveling this way, but at least I made it.

The next morning I rented a motorcycle and rode through Quito and onto Mindo Cloud Forest Reserve. Originally I was to take the motorcycle on a 2 day trip through to the mountains to view the spectacular volcanic craters of Ecuador, but the length of the revised flight reduced this to a small day trip. I definitely want to go back just for the ride.

Mindofreedom bike rental

The next day the tour group left for the Galapagos Islands where we spent a week aboard a sailing catamaran. Each night our guide would go over the activities we would do and the animals we were going to see. Most mornings we were up at sunrise and jumping into kayaks. We would kayak from the catamaran off to one of the islands seeing all sorts of wildlife from angles that you never could get if you went with any other tour. Each day when we got back the cook had prepared some light snack, and unique fruit smoothie. The cook was an absolute wizard. After that we jumped on the zodiac to go snorkeling, and then later after lunch hike through unique landscapes that Darwin himself wandered through.

Itinerary for the day

Kayaking Galapagos

galapagos reminder 5

I’d say there were two highlights of the Galapagos portion of this trip. Firstly seeing giant Galapagos tortoises in the wild was awe inspiring. The mammoth size of them was absolutely amazing. Secondly, the Galapagos sea lions. We were able to interact with these curious cuties on several occasions. While we did do the usual thing that most tours do where you can see them on the beach sunning themselves. They have no natural predator and as such you can walk right up to them. But the real gem. The real amazing show, was snorkeling with them. My word they were so playful and curious. I was buzzed on several occasions by teenaged sea lions. They amused themselves by swimming directly at me, only to veer off at the very last moment, mere inches away from me, and blow bubbles at my flipper covered feet.

galapagos sea lion and me

galapagos reminder 2

sea lion pups

Definitely this was an adventure of a lifetime, and my greatest adventure to date.

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