Amanda Marks

Blue Footed Booby

Two blue-footed boobies stood in my path. You’d think these strange looking birds would fly off when a human approached but they didn’t flap a feather.

They were far too busy. The male was gathering bits of twig and trying to impress his would-be partner by doing a comical little dance, lifting one bright blue webbed foot at a time and showing it to her. It reminded me a bit of that classic Charlie Chaplin sketch with the dancing bread rolls on forks in ‘The Gold Rush’!

Further along the track a colony of frigatebirds pumped up their throats like massive red balloons. Sea lions lay on every beach oblivious to our intrusion. Scaly marine iguanas shimmering in shades of grey, metallic green and red gathered in clusters on the black rocks and bright orange Sally lightfoot crabs scuttled between them. Of course the giant tortoises I saw in the highlands could not exactly run off – but the way all the other wildlife had no fear of man was unexpectedly mesmerising.

It was such a magical place that the Galapagos truly lives up to its nickname The Enchanted Islands.

Frigate-bird Galapagos

Frigatebird Galapagos

Eric, Letty and Flamingo Yachts

The three sister ships the Eric, Letty and Flamingo are run by Ecoventura. I like these yachts because they have some of the best naturalist guides in the Galapagos and have the highest guide to client ratio so you get a very personal service. And they were the first boats in the Galapagos to achieve environmental certification which makes them the good guys – and they’ve been championing the cause ever since.


Flamingo Galapagos Yacht

Life onboard the yachts is relaxed and informal. There are just 20 passengers on board so a friendly atmosphere soon builds up. Everyone is enchanted by the islands so you know you’re in like-minded company. Quite how the chef manages to produce such fabulous food from a small galley kitchen is beyond me – but he’s worth his weight in gold. For any long journeys between islands the vessel sails at night so you wake up in the morning at a new location. Snorkelling with sea lions and penguins around you, nature walks on the islands, swimming in clear waters and chilling out with a glass of wine on the sun deck are all part of a hard day’s holiday. Looked after by a crew of 8 and two naturalist guides I felt very spoilt and privileged.

The draw of the wild pulls strongly from this part of the equator.

Amanda Marks

Amanda Marks

Amanda Marks is the founder and managing director of award-winning tour operator, Tribes Travel. Having started travelling professionally in her mid-twenties as a tour leader in Africa and the Middle East, she set up Tribes with her husband Guy in 1998. She travels regularly both alone and with her family, and is committed to sustainable travel so we can protect the earth's diversity and beauty for future generations.