Galapagos, Ecuador

– free diving with dinosaurs

I often wondered how it would have been to visit and experience planet earth before the human kind emerged. In Galapagos I got a pretty close idea.

In this remote archipelago life had remained untouched for millions of years – and once discovered it was protected immediately. This had the incredible effect that the wild animals are neither hostile nor afraid of humans, which also means you get amazingly close encounters with curious and social wildlife.

I had a three meter long shark swimming right up to my face, penguins picking the glass of my snorkeling mask, sea lions swirling around me playing peek-a-boo, giant turtles and huge schools of rays sliding by – and primeval sea iguanas accompany me, like pre historic dinosaurs of the sea. And all this in just one session of free diving.

Today Galapagos is all about protecting this fragile wildlife, and there is a strict ”two-metre human-to-animal-distance-rule”. The creatures though, often have other ideas, sometimes coming right up to you, totally untroubled. Galapagos is probably the only place on the planet where you can enter a ”staring-contest” with a wild animal at one meter distance… and lose.

This is nature at its most pristine and to take part of it, is a true privilege. Beyond my wildest imagination.

• On assignment for RES, Utemagasinet, ETC, Grönt and Aftonbladet, among others.