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Española Island

Charm a Baby Sea Lion
Baby sea lions are some of the cutest and most curious animals on earth, though their parents (and the National Park naturalists) certainly won't appreciate you trying to play with them. And no, you can't take one home. Trust me.

But you can get close to these little guys without disturbing them or stressing them out. Chances are good that they'll even come to you first. Just remember not to touch them, never feed them, and take nothing home but your photos.

Ride with Dolphins
September 15, 1835.

Darwin and the crew of the HMS Beagle head for San Cristobal Island, passing Espanola Island without anchoring.

Espanola, also known as Hood Island, is one of the oldest, and most fascinating of all the Galapagos islands; Espanola is home to a number of endemic species, including the Hood Mockingbird and the pink venustissimus marine iguana, and is notable for being the breeding site of the waved albatross.

The waters between Espanola and San Cristobal are a popular playground for dolphins.

Do yoga with sea lions
The sea lions on Espanola island in Galapagos National Park are neither camera shy nor afraid of humans. A must do is take photos with the sea lions. This is me doing yoga with one of them once we got off our cruise ship The Letty with Ecoventura.
You can get pretty close to them without making them uncomfortable, but please don't touch the animals!

"Mom, This is Better Than Heaven Probably"
So said my 7 year old daughter wistfully while eating chocolate fondue onboard the Galapagos Legend. This was not an offhand comment, but a thoughtful assessment of how she had experienced the day thus far.

We had just returned from a morning walk on Espanola Island where we watched the albatross performing a hilarious courtship ritual that consisted of rapid beaks clicking together (kissing) and lots of male strutting (not unlike humans really!). She had also been busy photographing the goofy sea lions flopping on the beach and talking with the naturalist about blue footed booby eggs.

As a parent nothing could have touched my heart more than to have my oldest daughter really "get it" for the first time. She understood what excited me about traveling- the flavors, the experiences, the people, and the wildlife. In that one sentence, I knew that I had a young adventurer on my hands and couldn't be more proud!