miracle on isla fernandina

This past summer, I spent some time in Ecuador. After exploring Quito and the Amazon, my family and I hopped over to the Galapagos for an incredible week cruising the islands.

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This is a trip that promises to keep you in a constant state of wonder. From the surreal views of bright water contrasted by volcanic rock and towering mountains and volcanoes, to swimming with sea lions, penguins, turtles and sharks, to watching a sperm whale and her young baby frolicking at sun rise, I was amazed for a week straight.

The same morning we spotted the whales, we were witness to another miracle.

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While hiking through Isla Fernandina, we found a mother sea lion and her very young pup.

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After observing the scene, our guide Juan informed us that “young” was an understatement. The pup had been born just hours before we got there.

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We watched in awe as the momma and baby bonded through cuddles and vocal recognition. Even though they were right next to each other, they were constantly grunting, as if they were just trying to get to know each other.

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This baby was a healthy, bouncy little thing, hopping all over his mom and repeatedly making a dash for the water. His mom could definitely have used a nanny. I would have been happy to volunteer!

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Do you have any travel memories that took your breath away? Are you an animal lover?  I’d love to hear about your experiences!

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facing my fears in the amazon {aka that time i swam with piranhas}

This past summer I spent a week in the Ecuadorian Amazon, trekking through mud, climbing hundreds of feet to the top of the canopy…

…and swimming in a prianha, anaconda, and caiman-infested lake. 

July in the Amazon is HUMID. It only gets up to about 75 degrees by midday, but it always rains at least once a day, making the air verrrry sticky.

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One particularly uncomfortable afternoon, after a morning hike through ankle-deep mud, I decided to strip off my army green cargo pants, knee-high rubber boots, and mud-stained tee in favor of a bikini. I wandered over to the lake where we had gone piranha fishing the day before, where caimans fancied a mid-afternoon snooze, and anacondas were rumored to slumber.

Brother and his angry priaña friend

Brother and his angry priaña friend

the misleadingly serene-looking lake

the misleadingly serene-looking lake

After consulting my cousins, we decided hey, YOLO, and took the plunge.

{so punny}

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Confession: I figured the predators would be much more interested in my adorable, scrumptious pre-teen cuzzos than this pseudo-vegan. I know, I know… I’m terrible.

Doesn't he look delectable??

Doesn’t he look delectable??

 

Admittedly, I was terrified and would jump in, and swim as fast as I could around the dock {past snoozin’ caimans} to get my feet back on solid ground.

We had an absolute blast. No one was eaten in the making of this blog post. 

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My favorite thing about traveling is doing and experiencing things that make my heart race. Although it’s become an overused cliché, “you only live once” has to be part of a travelers vocabulary, methinks. Do something that scares you. Throw caution to the wind. Do you want to be on your death bed regretting having missed out on experiences, or smiling knowing you lived life to the fullest?

What’s the craziest or scariest thing you’ve ever done? Are you a daredevil? Next on my list is bungee jumping in Interlaken, Switzerland!