We had and early morning flight out to the Galapagos. Heading out to the boat we were greeted by Sea Lions and Blue Footed Boobies. In the afternoon we went to North Seymour to admire the abundance of bird life, and in particular the Red Bellied Frigates. In the evening our boat was accompanied by more than twenty of these birds flying at such close range you could reach out and touch them. It was a bazaar experience.
Española is a beautiful island. The beach we were at was stunning. Topo, the little stuffed mascot we are travelling with, had a near death experience when a young sea lion took interest in him and decided to pick him up. We thought he might be brought out to sea, but he was left ashore. A true highlight, ranking with my all time best travel moments, came when we went snorkelling into and around a lava cave. There were 20 or more playful sea lions in that area and any time I dove underwater many would follow and perform twists and turns and come within inches of me to take an inquisitive look. Leanne splashed one from the dingy when we were getting out and it returned with its own thunderous wave back using its fin. In the afternoon highlights included watching pelicans perform a mating dance and sitting by the cliff side to watch the birds fly around and to see a blow hole that spewed water every time a wave rolled in.
Floreana. We visited post office bay. There is a barrel on land used by people to collect and leave mail for other travellers. We also had a small taste of the joys of spelunking when we went into a deep cave filled with cold water. Later in the morning we went snorkelling at Devil’s Crown, a rock formation jutting out of the water. The marine life was good, but the currents were so strong that it was often hard to enjoy. It was nice to swim with sea turtles, and the cool, ugly looking bullhead fish, but it certainly lacked the excitement of interacting with the sea lions.
Santa Cruz. It was strange to dock at such a populated island. Up until this day we had been visiting protected areas. This did not feel like the Galapagos we had started to know. We had a morning visit to the Charles Darwin Institute, which is home to many Tortoises including the famous Lonesome George. The visit was nice, but it was like visiting a zoo. In the afternoon the real highlight came from visiting the highlands and seeing the tortoises in the wild.
Santa Fé and the South Plaza. We had a visit to another shore to see more of the wildlife that dominates the Galapagos Islands. There wasn’t much new in the morning for us, but it was pleasant. We went snorkelling and saw an abundance of fish and I got to play with a few more sea lions. While this is fun it didn’t live up to the time in Espanola. In the afternoon we went for a walk around South Plaza and its beautiful landscape with cactus and red and green brush.
Bartilome. Incredible volcano landscapes in this area. We had a nice day of snorkelling and visiting the wild penguins. We hiked to the top of the lookout around sunset for a stunning view. Back on the boat we had a laugh fest with the friends we’ve made on board.
Rabida has a beautiful red beach. We saw furry sea lions for the first time today. I swam with a 2 meter white-tipped shark for a while. I was able to keep pace as I swam above it and it circled for prey. There were also a lot of playful sea lions in the area. In the afternoon we went to Puerto Egas. This had a black sand beach and a lot of lava rock formations. The terrain was interesting.
The day started with a morning dingy trip through mangroves in Black Turtle Cove. We saw numerous sea turtles and sharks in this impressive water and greenery landscape. In the afternoon we made the long trip back to Quito and in the evening we went out for a huge meal with 4 other friends from the boat. Leanne is currently in bed and we have an early start tomorrow as we fly from Quito to Lima, Peru. We’ve driven all across Quito a few times, but did not have time to explore the city. Our return flight was delayed due to extreme weather. It hailed in Quito and we could see snow on the ground when we finally landed despite the +12C temperature. I’ve been trying to upload photos, but the Internet here is terrible. We will have to try again somewhere else. Galapagos is an amazing place where the wildlife has no fear of humans. It was an incredible trip and we can certainly recommend what the must-sees are.
I did get some photos posted through facebook. The link to see them is here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=95750&id=673382190&l=ae22e67f4f