Bid to win an expedition to the Galapagos Islands!

Posted by Renee Magyar on May 24, 2014

Last year’'s winner recounts her voyage with Lindblad Expeditions

Jennifer Allen and husband Wayne Luscombe snorkeled and enjoyed many other activities in the Galapagos.

Jennifer Allen, longtime friend of Sustainable Northwest and Director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University, won the trip to the famous archipelago at Whiskey & Water, Sustainable Northwest'’s fundraiser last August, that was generously donated by Lindblad Expeditions.  It was the premier silent auction item and will be offered again at our 20th Anniversary celebration this summer.

We spoke with Jennifer about her trip. She and her husband Wayne visited the islands in January 2014.

SNW: Tell us about your trip. What were some of the things you did there?

JA: We went snorkeling, kayaking, cycling, birdwatching... Every day there were many activities scheduled, but you had the flexibility to do whatever you wanted. There were no requirements, so you could kick back and relax on the boat or enjoy different activities throughout the day.

SNW: Did you learn or experience anything new while you were there?

JA: The animals have no fear of human beings. That experience is incredibly powerful. It makes you realize how the rest of the animal kingdom regards us with tremendous fear, and rightfully so. You realize that this kind of fear is not inherent. It’s possible to be with them in a trusting relationship. They come right up to you.  It’s magical.

A few of the many animals Jennifer encountered on her trip
A few of the many animals Jennifer encountered

The guides on the boat - the National Geographic Endeavor - are all certified naturalists and include professional photographers who can help you take amazing pictures.  Thanks to them, we learned about the natural and human history of the islands. I can’t say enough about how friendly and helpful the guides and crew were.

SNW: What was the highlight of your trip?

JA: We saw a sea lion give birth on the beach about 20 feet away from us. It was completely unexpected - we were in the right place at the right time.  

In general, being close to the animals was an incredible experience.  We snorkeled with sea turtles and marine iguanas.  We saw the giant tortoises in their natural environment, nesting birds, fur seals, land iguanas, frigate birds, blue- and red-footed boobies…

Jennifer witnessed this baby sea lion come into the world
Jennifer witnessed this baby sea lion come into the world

SNW: Did anything surprise you? Anything unexpected?

JA: I had no idea there were penguins in the Galapagos, and the wildlife varies from island to island.

Another thing that surprised me was the vegetation and geology of the islands. I was expecting them to be lush and tropical, but they’re exposed, rocky, and starkly beautiful.

SNW: What recommendations do you have for anyone going there?

JA: Bring casual, comfortable clothes and good water shoes. You’re going in and out of a zodiac [motorized raft] to get to the places you need to go.  A good camera is essential. We took over 500 pictures.

SNW: Any last words?

JA: Lindblad Expeditions organizes and runs this trip incredibly well. They take care of everything, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the full experience. 

Expect an amazing experience, because you’re going to have one! It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and given the chance, we would definitely go back.