I needn't have worried. The young ones bonded like white on rice, and the odd assortment of adults seemed to share a magical chemistry.

Only two days before we embarked for Ecuador, I had done the final performance of the new Broadway play 33 Variations by Moises Kaufman. I had been suffering extreme pain in my left knee; cortisone shots were no longer effective and I had had to walk with a cane for the last three performances. (Because my character was dying of ALS and used a walker and wheelchair for part of the show, the audience didn't seem to notice the cane.) I was scheduled for knee replacement surgery 12 days later and, needless to say, I was worried about how I would manage on the boat and the long nature walks on lava rocks that are such a central part of the Galápagos experience.

There, too, I needn't have worried. For some mysterious reason, the minute we crossed the Equator, the pain stopped and I could get about sans cane. (The pain returned six days later, alas, as soon as we crossed back over! Hmmm.)

There is no way to truly capture the Galápagos experience with words. Fortunately for me, my daughter Vanessa is a great photographer, so I'll let her pictures tell the story of this special adventure.