Last October, I decided to get scuba certified. After diving the Catalina and Anacapa Islands I thought it was only proper to go on a scuba adventure. What better place to go than the Galapagos for 2 weeks of exploration. I have always been a fan of Darwin and the Galapagos is a place that has always captured my imagination. I envisioned a rustic prehistoric island isolated from civilization. I got there along with bus loads of European tourists wearing their matching khaki expedition outfits and saw a bustling little town filled with every creature comfort which included ATM's, wireless internet and LCD TV's with satellite cable. I guess I was 50 years too late. I know any other "normal" person would have loved these modern amenities but I really wished that things were a little more bare...a little more untouched.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed exploring the little island. It was very diverse in flora and fauna. The wildlife was amazing and so far it is the only place I have been to that had a bunch of iguanas, sea lions, tortoises and albatross' scattered around delightfully apathetic to us annoying tourists.

Ok maybe not so apathetic...Mr. Tortoise was hissing at me at this particular moment and I had a brief chilling vision of being attacked by an 1800 pound reptile (which is absurd because the only thing you have to watch out for would be their powerful fist crunching jaw if you were within it's reach).

One of the other things that I enjoyed about Galapagos and Ecuador in general is the people. Extremely friendly, always a smile on their faces. This being my first trip to South America, I also noticed a lot of similarities to the Philippines in terms of the food (their ceviches were scrumptious) and the culture. They were, after all, occupied by the Spaniards and though this may not make obvious sense to everyone Filipinos are the Latins of Asia. This is another long topic of discussion and debate that I think I will write about after I've traveled the world and collected more observations.

Anyways, back to the scuba story. So my friend and I had courageously booked a 5 day dive session from the awesome Scuba Iguana shop. I highly recommend that for beginners not to do the same because it is exhausting! You should pace yourself and allot time to roam around the different uninhabited islands. A lot of divers do a live aboard but I did not want to deal with the constant motion of the boat especially when going to the loo.

I think I was able to do a total of 12 dives after the trip. It was not the colorful tropical underwater setting that I am used to but the marine life was spectacular. We saw sharks, hammerheads, pelagic fish, rays, sea lions (they are as cute and as playful as puppies), eels, seat turtles, dolphins and a bevy of other sea creatures. A particular highlight was me cowering behind a pinnacle of rocks to witness a shark pit! The current was whipping around us and I had to grab on to the rocks for dear life. I also tried my hardest not to hyperventilate because there were a LOT of sharks up close (granted they were small reef sharks there were the bulkier Galapagos sharks that hovered). I was about to chicken out and swim away when this seal dives from out of nowhere and starts clowning around with the reef sharks. The group was able to capture the video here. Oh and 28 seconds in to this video a reef shark was filmed stalking me!! You can hear my friend yelp out GRACE!

Here are some more photo highlights of Galapagos:

Dolphins are always a good sighting. We saw a whale after this but I was too slow to take a photo.

First time doing a back roll. I like it more than a high jump!

Eels are really ugly.

Stalking a bat fish.

Deadly urchin.

Sea Turtle and a friend.

Bat fish up close.

An eagle ray...the manta rays were more majestic. They look like alien underwater birds.

Funny fish.

I think this was a Torpedo Ray.


We went inside a big ball of mackerel. To be honest, I got a little claustrophobic.

A school of fish.

The dive crew.

The cutest pelagic fish ever!

The dreaded stone's poisonous.

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New Beginnings

It's been a long three months since I last posted on this blog. Ugh, I know it's disgusting how I take my blog forgranted. So what's been happening? Well...

1. I made my second trip out to South America to explore Peru and Bolivia (best of pictures soon to be posted).
2. I quit my old job in LA and moved to San Diego where I got a really cool gig.
3. I bought a new car
4. And, oh yes, I have new highlights in my hair =)

As you can see, I haven't really made an effort to write since I wanted to focus on getting a lot of personal projects off the ground. I do, however, feel like making a lot of changes to the content on this blog. I feel that I have not been too engaging or personal.

As for what is up next? Being the serial hobbyist that I am, I have the tendency to dabble on a lot of different things. So this time I am committing myself to blogging more, getting back to reading books (I used to read a book a day), becoming consistent with my yoga practice and to improving my swimming techniques. I am also enrolling in motorcycle riding classes by the end of this month. Moreover, I'm considering taking up Krav Maga for self-defense. All this before my 32nd birthday which is just around the corner!

So did I miss anything out here in the blogosphere?

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