How to Travel to the Galápagos Islands

There’s little hope. I fall hard and fast. Neither of us resists, despite the fact that on the day we met he told me that he’d just fallen in love with a girl on Easter Island. After a few days together, I dismiss that information as inconsequential. My blazing heart incinerates all logic. I’m flat-out sprinting into a future together voyaging, surfing, and exploring the world. It’s going to be all the freedom and adventure plus love! What could be better!?

“I found you, my little rider. I found my woman,” he whispers in my ear as we slow dance in the cockpit of Octobasse under the stars. I melt into him safe, cherished, whole, but also free.

The blissful days with Gaspar blur together. The enchantment of the Galapagos adds to our love-heightened senses as we run hand-in-hand through hills of towering cacti, hang out on the rocky shoreline with marine iguanas, freedive with sharks and sea lions, and cross our eyes like the blue-footed boobies. Instead of motoring the dinghy back to Swell after a day’s excursion, we drift across the bay letting the cool evening breeze push us out into the anchorage, wrapped in each other’s arms under the open sky as the lights of town flicker in the distance.

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“Te amo, Lissy. Te quiero (I love you),” he says. I question nothing, allowing myself to drift fully and freely on a sea of love adoring, unarmed, present. I refuse to think about the fact that we’ll soon be sailing away from each other, or that it’s already late in the season for me to cross the Pacific. I prefer to ride out this delicious love high people-watching in town together, basking in the sand side-by-side after a surf, making out under the stars.

When my mother arrives, she too is quickly smitten by the Spaniard. We follow Gaspar and the Octobasse to the next island, and Mom is perfectly happy relaxing aboard Swell while Gaspar and I row off to the “Love Canal.” As he rows between the narrow passage in the cliffs, sea lions cuddle and sun themselves on the nearby rocks, seemingly concurring that love is all there is.

As the date Mom and I set for our departure nears, I feel a surge of trepidation, not knowing when or if I will ever see my Spanish lover again. The thought leaves me breathless. “Love like this isn’t a mistake,” I write in my journal. My lip quivers between sentences. “The universe will bring us together again if it’s meant to be.”

On the last morning on the island of Santa Cruz, Mom helps me scrub the algae off the anchor chain and stow the dinghy. As we finish up the final prep, Gaspar swims over and looks over my rig one more time. He finally approaches where I stand on the foredeck, and delicately pushes a dangling lock of my hair back behind my ear. He lifts my chin so that my eyes meet his. “Head south-southwest until you find el viento (the wind),” he says sternly. “Pay attention to your ropes for chafe. Hablamos en la radio (We’ll talk on the radio) at 8 am and 6 pm todos los d^as (every day). Te amo (I love you), my little rider.”

“Te amo, Gaspy,” I reply. Tears drip down my face for happiness, for the pain of separation, and for the gratitude I feel at having shared these precious moments. I look down. He gently lifts my chin again and breaks into his favorite Ketama song.

“Cantale conmigo, Lissy No estamos locos. Sabemos lo que queremos. Vive la vida igual que si fuera un sueno ” (Sing with me, Lizzy. We are not crazy. We just know what we want. Live life as if it is a dream )

I can’t help but smile. He leans in for a last kiss, then dives into the sea. Before swimming away he calls, “Remember, the glory is forever, Lissy! I love you! jAdios, Mama!”

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