Last updated: 05:00 PM ET, Thu October 15 2015

Dispatch: Silversea in the Galápagos Islands

Destination & Tourism | Theresa Norton | October 15, 2015

Dispatch: Silversea in the Galápagos Islands

PHOTO: Silversea operates the upscale adventure ship named Silver Galapagos. (All photos by Theresa Norton Masek)

We’re just halfway through a weeklong Silversea Expeditions voyage around the Galápagos Islands, and the wildlife on display here has been nothing short of dazzling.

From blue- and red-footed boobies to sea lions, from iguanas to prehistoric-looking tortoises, the Galápagos Islands are a feast for the eyes.

At first glance, these islands appear rather desolate, with scrubby plants, dusty soil and black lava rocks. But they are home to an amazing array of birds and wildlife, of which many species are found only here. About 97 percent of the land comprises the Galápagos National Park, and the government is very strict in its protection of these islands and their wildlife inhabitants.

That’s why the animals and birds here have no fear of humans. You can get very close to them (no more than six feet, though, according to park regulations) and they gaze back with curiosity and not a hint of caution. Most animals skitter away whenever they see or hear a human being, so it’s rather striking when they stay put and their eyes meet your eyes.

That means there’s no long, stealthy search to glimpse these fascinating creatures. They’re everywhere, and since they don’t flee, you can quickly and easily see most of the wildlife for which these barren islands are famous.

So far, I’m just sorry I didn’t see the Galápagos penguins. They live among the lava formations on Santiago Island, and a few of my fellow passengers were lucky enough to see them.

Here are some of the highlights of my trip so far.

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