Mike Wood, Manager of the Peregrine Travel Centre in Perth recently experienced the Galapagos on a Peregrine trip. We caught up with him to ask him for some of his favourite moments.
Highlight of the trip
So many, but I think one of the most memorable was swimming with a pod of at least 100 dolphins. We encountered them while travelling between the islands out in deep water. Fabian, our guide, quickly got the San Jose stopped, lowered the dinghies into the water and we clambered into them. Once we were among the dolphins many of us jumped in and swam with the pod, the dolphins were close and curious and interacted with us. It got a little hairy when Sam spotted a Galapagos Shark about 3-metres long travelling deeper under the pod but in the end we just ignored it and kept swimming.
Greatest Wildlife Encounter?
I think that would have to be seeing a giant tortoise for the first time. They are amazing animals, their longevity, their size, their seeming indestructability and their ancient looks all make you believe that they are creatures of great patience and calmness. They can live for over six months without food or water, which made them unfortunate targets for sailors needing fresh meat on long voyages.
Fresh fish on the San Jose, bought in the local markets.
We were lucky enough to be in the town of Puerto Ayora for Ecuador's national day - a great atmosphere with lots of people celebrating in the town square on the waterfront.
Any photography tips?
Take an underwater housing that you can dive down with when snorkelling. Most mornings are spent in the water and the underwater world is at 50% of the ecosystem and the biodiversity of the Galapagos.
Anything that you didn't take that you wish you had?
An underwater camera or housing!
Any advice for those planning a trip to the Galapagos?
Make sure you map out your route every day and keep a log of where you go. Take a small umbrella, very useful when it rains, particularly to keep the camera dry when taking shots on land. Research what wildlife is breeding when as it takes place over the whole with different species breeding at different times, then work out what species you really want to see so you can plan when to go. Be sure to include some time in Quito, a really interesting city, and if you can have a look at Ecuador’s countryside as well.
Thanks Mike! Read all about the Galapagos and our tours there here.