Galapagos Islands

Galapagos - Posted On

Galapagos will be a concentrate of good news. The very first night, my computer gets fixed; I find a job as bike guide and also a school to give a conference.

The deal for the job is basic: I find some tourists and the agency furnishes the bikes and logistic, I would get paid by number of customers. Unfortunately I will not find any customers, neither do they, so that we let it down. But for a few days I can say I was officially guide in Galapagos Islands!

About the conference, I meet first evening in a bar a French family living here. The two children tell me they go to the school Tomas de Berlanga where I could surely give a conference about my trip. This will happen just before I leave the Island a few days later.

Then Tago Mago, my next transpacific boat, arrives on time to ride me to Fiji.

What a surprise to see Laurent and Delphine on it, a French couple I met in Panama, Shelter Bay 2 months ago! They joined Frederic and he took them as crew as well as he hired me.

Galapagos is a paradise for those who love Nature. The entire Archipelago is a natural park with a lot of restrictions, trying to protect as well as they can the wilderness of the islands. And what a success! We see in the harbor water sea lions, sunbathing on the sailboats hulls, huge Pelicans flying and hunting, turtles sometimes.

On shore terrestrial and marine iguanas lay in the shadow of small trees. I also get to see a Blue Footed Booby, a very strange bird for the color of it feet.

The Darwin research center take care of numerous giant turtles of the Galapagos, the most famous of them is Lonesome George, the last of it specie, he is nothing less than 150 years old!

I get to see the magnificence of the island around.

Las Grietas is a little canyon with fresh water down, like a small and vertical hole from where we can jump 5 to 12 meters high.

Tortuga bay will be my favorite place here. Walking on a 7 kilometers pathway, we reach the Playa Blanca, made of the thinnest white sand I have ever seen. As being a surfer beach I get to play in the waves, bodysurfing in the warm water at 29°C.

Next beach is the real Tortuga Bay which deserves it name quite well. After some minutes in the calm water I get to see a big shadow right next to me.

Turtle! I dare and touch her back, very smoothly, and start swimming with her. How amazed I am when I see her circling and circling around me!

For a good time we will swim together, being both fascinated by each other’ presence. This magical experience will be kept deep in my heart.

The shore of the bay is full of Iguanas as I have never seen before. Completely alone in the front of the ocean I will feel the energy of the Earth bathing my mind, charging up my batteries.

By visiting Lonesome George turtle at The Charles Darwin Research Center, we meet a bunch of “official” people, journalists, and well-dressed people.

In the middle of them sit a man in his rolling chair. A quick conversation with one of the woman there informs us that we just saw the vice-president of Ecuador, Mr Moreno himself.

When we crossed their way again, they tell me to come over, Mr Moreno is interested in my trip… from my conversation earlier, the woman told him about my adventure.

“- So you have crossed Ecuador on a bike?” he asks me.

Unfortunately he doesn’t have much time now and we cannot talk much more than a few minutes. This would have been interesting to see his point of view about our world and global human system named Society.

Mr Moreno was not the only famous personality coming in Galapagos these last days. There were the actor Leonardo Di Caprio and Bill Gates, coming to a congress for fundraising for the National Park.

Tomas de Berlanga School is a bilingual education unit in Galapagos. They try to educate children taking the best out of the magnificent wonders of nature around them.

The school is like a big park, children and families help to make it better enjoyable and sustainable. Created by Fundacion Scalesia, their aim is to prepare the pupils to the real world but also to sensitize them to the environmental problems especially in Galapagos.

Mainly all of the pupils are bilingual, speaking fluently Spanish and English. The kind of school I would have loved to study in.

Sheila is the director of the school, a small woman that I would compare to dynamite. She is so full of power, doing so much for others as well as for herself. We become good friends very fast. She invites me for dinner and will host me for the last day of my stay.

I give the conference to 30 children from low grade to high grade of school. They listen to my speech and get quite shy to the questions I ask. I am quite surprised when by the end of the conference I am asked for autographs!

The theme here was mainly: “There is no dream too extreme”. I wanted to talk a bit about environmental challenges but I had no idea what they knew about it, and not knowing from where to start, we kept talking about adventure. Examples are sometimes better speech than a long talk.

Back to the Tago Mago:

Having done the groceries for 30 days for the 5 of the crew team, we get ready for leaving. The “puddle jump” is now in front of us.

Let me now introduce you to the Tago Mago team:

Frederic, captain and owner of the Tago Mago, French retired psychiatre from Annecy. He left the Mediterranean coast in August 2008 for a circumnavigation around the world in two years.

Frederic likes sailing, well-cooked spaghettis, and hates seeing the floor of his boat all wet.

Jean-Pierre is Fred’s brother. He came for the Pacific crossing until Panama and will go back to his children from Tahiti.

Jean-Pierre likes good food made by Laurent, seeing a big fish at the end of the line. He dislikes very much being woken up in the middle of his permitted and merited hours of sleepiness by disgracious kitchen noises.

Laurent is Delphine’s boyfriend. They are on a world tour of a few years, working or volunteering sometimes, a very good website of their adventure on

Civil engineer, French, ex-citizen of London, Laurent loves cooking and calculating aberrant probabilities like what chance he has to get a six by throwing twice in a row the same dice. He hates getting a fresh bucket of salt and cold water in his head while comfortably sleeping in his (ex-dried) bed.

Delphine is Laurent’s girlfriend. Financial business woman, French, she likes Laurent’s food and keeping the boat clean. She doesn’t like getting a bowl of food in her face while eating thrown by a big wave coming treacherously in the dark.

I, Olivier, but you know me. I like fresh buckets of salt fresh water in the middle of the night, I like bowl of food in my head while dining, I like being woken up by any cooking noise, I like wet floors, when all this together means sailing, means Adventure and Freedom. And I dislike very much getting a flat bike tire in the middle of a rainy and cold night. But you already know that by now, don’t you?

We are on the 13th. April 2010, Foie Gras is ready in the fridge; we can leave for the real great OCEAN ADVENTURE!

22 to 30 days of navigation with no land. 3000 Nautical miles will be crossed just by sailing. Our first destination is Marquises. See you there!