Scuba diving with sharks: What it's like to spend the coronavirus lockdown in paradise

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Backpacker Ian Melvin who has found himself stranded on the idyllic Galapagos islands when the lockdown kicked in. (SWNS)

A traveller who found himself stranded on the Galapagos Islands when the coronavirus lockdown came into force has described what it’s like to be stuck in paradise.

Ian Melvin, 29, could have taken a repatriation flight back to Scotland but decided to stay put in the idyllic location – where he has been having a dream holiday for 10 weeks.

The former TEFL teacher, from Banchory, Aberdeenshire, flew to South America last November after spending three years in China.

On 14 March, he travelled to the Galapagos, situated 500 miles west of Ecuador, and landed on Isla Santa Cruz.

The former TEFL teacher flew to South America last November after three years in China. (SWNS)

Three days later he took a ferry to the largest of the islands, Isla Isabella, which has a population of just 2,200 people – and where a 2pm curfew enforced since the lockdown has helped him get to grips with studying Spanish.

As a result, Melvin has spent the last three months relaxing and enjoying the tropical weather, stunning beaches, crystal clear waters and astonishing wildlife – including marine iguanas, sea lions, green turtles and penguins.

After living with a local family for six weeks, Melvin now has a room in a Puerto Villamil-based beach side hostel, which costs him just £280 a month.

Speaking of his experience, Melvin said: “No one will get the opportunity to experience the Galapagos so quiet. The swimming here’s amazing, the sea lions come right up to your face.

“Marine iguanas swim next to you and penguins peck your feet.I also cycle around the island and run on the beaches. It’s been a really unique experience.

“When I arrived in the Galapagos I had a few days of normality, I went scuba diving with hammerhead sharks which was amazing, then I came to this island.

The backpacker is unsure how long he can stay on the islands due to his 90-day Ecuadorian tourist visa.

However, due to a state of emergency imposed until 15 June, he isn’t worrying and would have 30 days to leave the country once restrictions are lifted.

When travel restrictions are eased he would like to continue on to Colombia.

Ian Melvin told how he has spent the last ten weeks swimming with marine wildlife on the idyllic islands. (SWNS)

“I’ve just paid rent for all of June, then hopefully I’ll have a better idea if I can travel to another country,” he continued.

“I’ve just been enjoying being on the Galapagos for so long."

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