We also hiked, kayaked and snorkeled — despite the occasional hammerhead shark.
Then one day near the end of our trip, I was relaxing on the sundeck when I heard the buzz of an outboard motor and Rafa exhorting us to “Come now!”
Soon we were perched on the sides of a panga peering down at dozens of big green turtles cruising below, stubby flippers flapping as they negotiated the current. Mesmerized, I impulsively borrowed Rafa’s snorkel mask and leaped into the chilly cove, fully clothed.
We had been instructed not to touch the creatures, but some brushed close by, peering at me inquisitively.
When Rafa signaled that we had to go, I reluctantly hoisted myself up, appreciating that such spontaneous travel moments are so often the most unforgettable ones.
1. You’ll find warmer, calmer waters here from December through March.
2. Guayaquil, on mainland Ecuador, has the closest airport to the Galápagos (a 1 1/2-hour flight), but you can also fly to and from more-charming Quito (two hours).
3. A hat, strong sunblock and a swim shirt to wear while snorkeling are musts.
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