Ecuador's Galapagos Islands - 2003

But nature here is prodigal in her gifts to us mere humans. When we took in the whole scene, we realized that we were seeing a really special and unforgettable picture. There was the regal hawk, all tense life atop the dead, leafless, and white-barked tree. In the background was a perfectly conical volcano and just above the horizon line, blue-footed boobies were stitching flight patterns in the sky, while resting on the sand directly below the hawk were two entwined baby sea lions fast asleep in their innocence and confidence of safety. Even the flightless cormorants holding out their vestigial wings to dry in the fading sunlight added to the primordial picture. And then the last golden rays of the sun shot through the low-lying clouds and caused the yellow & green mosses on a tiny islet just offshore to become molten gold and flashing emeralds. In the face of such a scene, one can only thank Mother Nature for the gift of sight!

Even the ride away from the island back to the Polaris was enchanted. We saw many green sea turtles swimming around the Zodiac, penguins resting among the tiny islets and skerries we skirted on our homeward course, sea lions and fur seals draped comfortably on the sharp rocks. The blue-green waters turned from 39

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