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Santa Barbara, California
December 11, 2009
October 27, 2005
After a zodiac cruise early in the morning, we returned to the boat and got ready to snorkel. Samuel had us drink hot chocolate wearing our wetsuits before the snorkel to warm up internally. He is a wise, wise man. We climbed on to the Zodiacs and set off for shore. We went into three different inlets before Samuel found the one he was looking for. I dipped a finger into the ice-cold water--this was going to be cold! I was the first one in. It was 59 degrees according to Samuel’s watch. At first the cold was unbearable, but Samuel had us tread water until our bodies got used to the temperature. Even with wetsuits (which are absolutely necessary for the Galapagos in September) we were cold. We soon set off for our careful snorkel through the maze of lava. We swam purposefully without pausing to admire the fish or coral we saw along the way. And then we reached the end and it was just as our guide had described.
Samuel had us climb out of the water, holding hands, and inch our way across to where the inner cove was. That was the only time I regretted the long fins we had brought with us, as it was very tricky to walk across the lava with them, particularly holding hands. When we arrived at the small cove, only 40 feet across, we eased into the water and immediately saw that it was a good day for sea turtles. We swam around the outer edge slowly in a counterclockwise direction. And, to our left, as we swam we saw more than 50 turtles who were very curious about our arrival. They swam along side us and beneath us, and in general seemed to fly through the water as we watched. The only sound you could hear was the occasional "sigh" that each turtle made as it came up for air.
We circled the turtles three times before Samuel signaled it was time to leave. I could have stayed for hours watching the turtles glide through the water, easily evading each other and us. Even the most agnostic among us was moved by this place. It was truly a bit of Galapagos magic, and we will never forget our snorkel with the sea turtles.
From journal Dreaming of the Galapagos