I had an absolutely unreal time during my two month stay in the Galápagos which for me was the trip of the lifetime. The abundance of wildlife on this beautifully rugged islands is truly astonishing and has to be seen to be believed. Here you have an over abundance of exotic land and marine life that have virtually no fear of mankind. This lack of fear pretty much means you can get up close and personal to much of the wildlife here that have not been conditioned to fear and view mankind as a threat. While there was definitely no shortage of exotic and vibrant wildlife to observe in the Galápagos such as giant marine turtles, marine and land iguanas, giant tortoises, sharks, blue footed boobies, and manta rays but yet what really stole the show for me was perhaps the least exotic of them all....the common Galápagos sea lion. I absolutely loved these cute and playful little (ok not so little) guys. Their personalities and sense of fun was absolutely infectious from observing their large chaotic sea lion colonies to encountering them face to face in the water while snorkeling. I could not get enough of these cheeky fat f@%kers. While they maybe slightly territorial on land in you intrude into their personal space but they are completely the opposite in the water where they range from a passive tolerance of your presence to a playful curiosity. Often in the water they will get up close and personal and often playfully swim rings around. I would often spend hours a day snorkeling with these beautifully graceful animals in attempt to capture the perfect shot. One particular sea lion at Playa La Loberia on the Island of San Cristóbal I soon became very fond of. He/she was a small adolescent that could often be spotted frolicking in the shallow of the shore break from where I would cautiously approach to observe and take photos. The first time I swam with this sea lion he was a little wary but still allowed me to come close enough to get a few decent shots but after the fourth or fifth time we swam together I felt that he recognised me and was much more relaxed and playful often swimming right into the lens of my camera and blowing bubbles in my face before shooting off only to return moments later. Some days I would be sitting on the beach observing the surf and he would come out of the water and onto the beach to sit mere meters away from me and take in the rays of the sun. There is definitely a place in my heart for these amazingly vibrant and intelligent fat little mamals and the following gallery in my tribute to them, enjoy!