Back from the Galapagos

I just got back from an amazing trip to the Galapagos islands. Besides providing the early inspiration for Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”, the Galapagos is one of the most pristine environments left on the planet. It’s one thing to hear people talk about how the animals on the islands have no fear of humans, but it doesn’t fully prepare you for the reality of standing inches away from a sea lion nursing her young and completely ignoring your presence.

The islands are gorgeous, varied, and bursting with life. In places, you literally have to tiptoe through the local fauna. Snorkeling in the surrounding waters was equally enthralling, swimming within reach of sea turtles, penguins, sea lions, and an abundance of fish. I was simultaneously overjoyed with the experience, and a little saddened about how successfully humans have trained the remainder of the world’s wildlife to fear us. It was also mildly depressing seeing how much plastic had washed onto the otherwise pristine shores, likely traveling the pacific currents from Asia and the West Coast (the Galapagos is situated on the intersection of a few major pacific currents).

The cruise on the Celebrity Xpedition ship itself wasn’t anything special, but the staff were friendly, the naturalists were great, and the food was passable. I wasn’t really there for the cruise amenities anyway. Though I could have lived without everyone on the cruise getting sick (still recovering from some nasty virus).

All in all, an amazing experience. I took a ton of photos, and a few videos. This trip is likely to serve as the inspiration for more than a few future Flash experiments.

Here’s a few of my favourite photos. If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, you can check out the full set of ~800 photos on my Picasa account.

Grant Skinner

The "g" in gskinner. Also the "skinner".



  1. Those pictures look like they are straight out of National Geographic!

  2. Thanks! I used my trusty Nikon D50, a 55-200mm lens, and a new Olympus 1030 SW for the underwater shots. Mind, those are 8 of the best out of 800 photos total – take enough pictures, and a few will look decent. πŸ™‚

  3. Truly amazing photos. Congrats!

  4. Did the exact same cruise with my wife last May I think it was. Great experience!

    Bummer everyone got sick! If I had to be on a cruise ship, I like the smaller feel of the Xpedition.

    Definitely an awe inspiring time, glad you enjoyed!

  5. Weyert de Boer June 20, 2008 at 3:44am

    Wow. Nice, looks like fun to go to that Island. Looks nice. I should save some bucks for this trip. But first I want to make a cruise to Antarctica πŸ˜‰

  6. Inspiring stuff, mate. Looks like an amazing experience.

  7. Plastic washing up on the shores there?? That is utterly disturbing. I went and saw Dr. Marcus Eriksen speak recently ( The videos are pretty depressing but it’s our sad polycarbonate reality. It’s all Canada’s fault ya know πŸ˜‰ Otherwise, what a lucky dog you are! I’d like to see that place sometime too. So I’ll expect to see a google earth garbage gyro mash up soon, yes?

  8. wow, nice to know you liked Galapagos (being from Ecuador, I’m really proud of those islands). It’s really a magical place. And those photos are awesome. I hope I can go there this year.

  9. Hey Grant

    My name is Michael – Aspiring Flash App Developer in Edmonton, as per current time standards I’m not in the industry between semesters due to fact I was not prepared enough to be able to full use my skills in the industry, and am thus, working at London Drugs in the Camera Dept.

    Hopefully you will see me this late November for the Nait Expo, I will be working very hard on projects in these coming months.

    In the meantime, I sell cameras like the 1030sw, and haven’t found any good photos to show to customers.. mind if I steal the turtle one to show the shots that you can take underwater? Full credit given of course! Take care, and keep doing this stuff, the blogs that is, it really keeps me focused and motivated.


    Michael Wilson

  10. You only mentioned garbage on the beach as a human destruction of the pristine ecosystem, but you forgot to mention brutality such as the introduction of blackberries (which reproduce really fast and kill other plants) and goats (they eat seals, I think…).

    I went to the Galapagos on an 8th grade field trip; I still remember the snorkeling, the sea lions, the turtles(, the eradication of blackberries), etc.

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