Kicker Rock and Cerro Brujo – San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands

June 2018

Kicker Rock (León Dormido) and Cerro Brujo – San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands

I was finally feeling better from the day before and just in time cause I did not want to miss our excursion to Kicker Rock. While I was concerned about the physical parts of the day and my lack of energy, I was hopefully a mind over matter technique would help me out.

The famous Kicker Rock, known locally as León Dormido, is a packed volcanic ash formation that sits 500 feet above the ocean and attracts all sorts of wildlife both above and below the water.

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Before our snorkel experience, we stopped at the most beautiful beach, Cerro Brujo. Every direction was a breathtaking landscape of crystal clear waters and white powder sand.

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A short distance revealed a small bay area with several relaxing sea lions.

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With our remaining time, we walked along the water observing several pelicans and blue footed boobies diving for fish.

Our group boarded the boat for what Kevin reported as an enjoyable lunch of chicken, rice, and vegetables. I politely stuck to my BRAT diet guns- I did not want to risk feeding the animals so close to our snorkel session.

The time had come for our adventure at Kicker Rock. Our boat circled the rock formation and gave us stunning views of the swelling ocean in the crevices and myriad of birds including frigate birds and Nazca boobies.

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As my first time snorkeling, I was a bit nervous watching the ocean rising and falling around the rocks. What if the short wetsuit left me frozen in the cold ocean water? What if I got water in my goggles? What if I got tired swimming leaving me struggling in the bottomless ocean? What if I could not get the breathing down? What if I could not keep up with the group? I was regretting my lack of previous exposure as I began to watch the members of our boat jump in one at a time. Just jump off the boat into the water? I had to force myself off the side of the boat into the open ocean.

Our naturalist guide had a life ring to drag people who were not confident in their swimming so my goal jumping off the boat was to swim immediately to the bright orange circle. Feet dangling off the side of the boat, struggling to find a graceful way to enter the water, I did some combination of slipping and falling in. The cold water did not distract me from my labored, rapid breathing through the snorkel providing me life. This was not going to work out-  I slowed my breathing and my heart rate gradually lowered- long, deliberate breathes. Before I knew it, I made it to the life ring!

With the group in the water, we began our swim. At first I clung to the life ring as if I was never letting go but gradually I gained confidence in my breathing and acclaimed to the fluid motion with the fins. The wetsuit helped create some buoyancy where I forgot all about floating. Before I knew it, several minutes later, I was unattached to the life ring focused on all the life below.

We passed hundreds of different fish varying in colors and size. Several minutes of nothingness were ahead of our naturalist guide’s muffled voice attempting to get our attention- shark. Below us no more than 12 feet swam a Galapagos shark! Completely uninterested in us, the shark continued on its way swimming the opposite direction of the group as we passed by.

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A few feet in front of the shark were two sea lions dancing in the water swirling around each other.

The group continued down the crevice in hopes of spotting a hammerhead shark but none were identified from the surface at this time.

Next we stayed close to the rock observing more fish and coral before spotting several sea turtles majestically gliding through the ocean.

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After an hour in the water, we made our way back to the boat concluding our snorkel session at Kicker Rock. As I sat down curled up in a towel, I could not believe what we just did. I snorkeled in open ocean with sharks, sea lions, fish, and sea turtles- all while being sick- feel like I conquered the world- I was so proud of myself.

We could not wait to see what the rest of San Cristobal would bring!

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