Sunday, March 29, 2009

What Memories Stay

The Galapagos Islands are a world unto themselves. I get swept away when I think of what we have seen and experienced there. This time was all about green sea turtles hovering offshore, waiting for night when they lumber onto the beach and lay their eggs. It was snorkeling and swimming with small Galapagos penguins, white-tipped sharks, turtles, and eagle rays.

The marine iguanas were in full mating colors -- greens, reds, black. We saw a feeding frenzy in a small inlet where blue-footed boobies and pelicans plunged into three feet of water to feast on schools of silvery-colored fish.

A mother booby fed her ravenous chick as we stood on the path, agog. We were stung by small jellyfish in a bay overrun with boats. Sea lions swam by me. Huge frigate birds flew next to and behind our boat like escorts or guards with unknown motives.

But, what lingers in my memory is the wonder of night. From our cabin on deck, I could see the stars -- so many more, it seems, than in our northern skies. When it was hot, I opened the door where two feet straight ahead was the railing and the water beyond. Often, I woke at night and stood in that open door watching dark shadows and land masses pass by. I heard splashing when sea lions came close to the boat. I was in another world of hot, dark nights full of stars and the wild.

This is what I carry in my heart now.

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