It is hard to believe that this is our last full day in the Enchanted Isles. As we reflect on the past week, we struggle to find the right words to describe our time here in the Galápagos, but the one sentiment that keeps resurfacing is wondrous joy. As we explored each of the islands, from young Fernandina to the mature San Cristobal, the diversity of wildlife that welcomed us reminded us to be present, always.

This morning, those who woke up early had the opportunity to hike or ride around Punta Pitt on a search for the elusive red-footed boobies. Unlike their other relatives, red-footed boobies are one of the “kindest” boobies because they lay and care for one egg, rather than having an “insurance policy” like the blue-footed and Nazca boobies. This reminds us that despite the beauty of the islands, life is exceptionally harsh. A constant theme in the Galápagos Islands is: you do not need to be perfect, you just need to be good enough to survive. As we swam and snorkeled around the glittery beach of Punta Pitt, we were among a playful family of sea lions. They danced, played, and surfed along with us — we were a transient presence in their simple life. Witnessing the play between the children and the juvenile sea lion reminded us of our own inherent child-like joy and curiosity, which are precious commodities in the modern world.

Later we set sail to Cerro Bruno, where we took our last walk on the beach. We enjoyed the last sunset over the blue horizon with sea lions. What an amazing way to bookend our week together in the Galápagos: we started at Bachas beach and ended at the white sandy beach of Cerro Bruno.

“There is no Wi-Fi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection.” - Ralph Smart, philosopher

Over the week, we had the privilege to disconnect from the outside world. While a few of us lamented, many of us reconnected with our inner child. Some found connections with the ever-changing landscape, some discovered connections with the wildlife, while others fostered new connections with fellow passengers.

All of us have made it to the Galápagos in our own way, and it was no simple feat. The one constant message that we have been hearing is the connection we have with nature and with the islands. Once you drink the water in the Galápagos, you are bound to return. And we feel it, we believe it, for we are now connected to the islands.