I wonder what would happen if someone tried to copy the ceiling of the Sisteen Chapel using a toothbrush and a few manky watercolours?
I’m sure we all agree even a decent artist would struggle to replicate such beauty.
That’s exactly how I feel when I sit down and try to write about Galapagos.
I’ve re-read this blog and realised that yes, okay, I can recall our funny moments and our silly conversations.
I can describe my flippant thoughts and feelings fairly adequately and, of course, I can record our numerous sit-com style family dramas.
But somehow I fail to describe the sheer mastery of Galapagos itself.
Sometimes I catch my breath and have to force myself to realise that I do really live here.
Other times I stare intently at the giant tortoises and the marine iguanas because I know I will probably never see them again.
Still, I’m a terrible tour guide.
Some of you may want to visit Galapagos one day. You may even want to spend some time exploring my home, the fabulous island of San Cristobal.
And all you hear from me is about hospitals and schoolchildren, sleazy men and chocolate cake… cartwheels on beaches and chickens choked in kitchens.
Please let me tell you about some of the more beautiful days.
One Saturday, Pippa and I hired bikes and took a taxi to La Solidad – a tiny hamlet perched right at the very top of the island.
Besides a tiny school and a few homes, the only thing there is a lookout point, from which you can gaze out across the island and ocean beyond.
Our town looks even tinier from there, as does Kicker Rock, the lava formation out to sea where you can snorkel with sharks.
We cycled down to El Progreso (our closest town) and stopped to see the ruins of Cobos’ empire and his grave (more about him later) before climbing up to enjoy a drink at a café in a tree.
Not bad for such a small place.
But the best thing about the ride home, through tangled undergrowth and past numerous family farms, was the fact it was downhill for 10km.
The following day Pippa, Fran, Hernan and I went to Loberia but rather than stopping at the beach we decided to clamber through the rocks to the cliffs beyond.
We scrambled for more than an hour, past giant marine iguanas (Pippa almost trod on one, they bled in so well) and numerous birds until we reached a deserted spot.
As we balanced precariously on the rocks jutting above the ocean, we decided we’d done enough to justify ice creams on the way home.
But once again, I think I’m failing to convey the full glory of Galapagos.
Try to visualise sparkling sunshine, endless greenery and a crashing ocean.
Imagine the marine iguanas – huge and black and ever so slightly terrifying as they perch on jagged lava rocks like the last of the dinosaurs.
Imagine the pelicans – those enormous eyes and great fleshy beaks, cruising above you with a wingspan equal to any eagle you could imagine.
If you can see huge yellow and white flowers nestled among cactuses and you expect to see fat, dozing sealions everywhere you walk, maybe I’m getting somewhere.
One day I’ll write about our picnic on Puerto Chino – a beach on the far side of the island with waves that crash so high you are frequently soaked in spray.
Another time, I’ll write about my favourite day on San Cristobal.
It was last Sunday, when Pippa, Solaise, Fran, Izzy, Zack, Benji and I swam with the sea lions in the cove at Frigate Bird Hill before climbing to the top to laze in the sun.
We saw the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen there, with the sun slipping behind Santa Cruz island far out to sea – leaving only Venus and the Moon behind.
But writing descriptively and heaven forbid, romantically, is apparently not my style
So, if you don’t mind, you’re just going to have to use your imagination to visualise Galapagos from now on.
I promise to try and write something funny next time.
It all sounds delightful. Your enthusiasm, love and delight in San Cristobal are truly evident. Also evident is the fact that you truly appreciate the opportunity to be there
Thank you! I do appreciate it, every day. I admit, the thought of leaving fills me with a little horror. I’m also slightly worried I’ll never visit anywhere as wonderful again!! I might just pack my bags and head home!
You are the Michelangelo of Galapagos.