First thing this morning we were on our flight from Quito to San Cristobal, our first island of the Galapagos. Once we arrived, we waited in a short line to pay the national park fee, received a stamp in our passports and found our tour guide waiting outside for us.
We all piled into the bus they had ready for us and went directly to the pier. The pier was busy when we arrived…there were little blue panga boats going back and forth between the docks and the ships. We jumped in one and were escorted to our yacht called the Eric.
Once on board, the 20 passengers and 2 tour guides sat in the main room and we all introduced ourselves. The rest of the crew also came in to introduce themselves. The guides discussed expectations and itineraries for the week. The first thing on the itinerary started within the next hour…we were going snorkeling on the island of Playa Ochoa. It was the beach where Charles Darwin first stepped foot in 1835.
We all picked out our wetsuits, fins and snorkel gear supplied by the ship. The ship docked and we piled back into the panga boats in order to get to the island for snorkeling. The beach itself had white sand with seals laying lazily under a tree. They were quite comfortable with people walking close by to take their picture. The snorkeling wasn’t so great…we saw some random fish but nothing out of the ordinary.
After a short walk on the beach, we took a panga back to our cruise. We got showered, changed and went up to the top deck where we would soon be at what they call, Leon Dormido or Kicker Rock. This massive rock was so steep, we could not dock even with a panga boat but, because it was a big nesting area for sea birds, we were able to take pictures and use binoculars to see all the activity on the rock.
The sun was setting and cast beautiful colors in the horizon, it was a great first evening. After snapping some pictures, we all went downstairs to eat dinner. Giff’s mom wasn’t feeling so great, the boat was a bit rocky and she decided to skip dinner and get to bed early. She really didn’t miss much as dinner wasn’t so great…it was about equal to an airplane meal, but it is only the first night so maybe it will get better as the week goes on…? We all finished with our tea and decided to get to bed as well, tomorrow we have to wake up at 6AM.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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