Well I am finally back from my trip to the Galapagos. Eight days on board the boat Galapagos Adventures 3. The flight from Quito was about two and half hours with a short stop for half an hour in Guayaquil. The airport was more of a shed but it was efficient and we had to get a bus, a little ferry and then another bus to get to where our boat was moored in Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz. This is the main town and where most people in the Galapagos live. We made it to the boat for lunch and found our cabin number 3 which I am sharing with a girl called Linda from France. It consisted of bunk beds and a very small bathroom. The sea was also really rough when we arrived which was not a good sign! We had lunch on board before heading off to our first excursion which was to the highlands of Santa Cruz to see the Giant tortoises. This was really cool and we could get really close to have our pictures taken although too close and they hissed at you! We also went to see a giant lava
Me and a tortoise
In the Highlands of Santa Cruz it was possible to get close to the giant tortoises.
tube which is like a huge cave carved out of the lava. We had to crawl through some parts but it was pretty cool and the markings on the rock was stunning. After that we headed back to the boat to sail to our next island. The boat was really rocking and most people felt really sick which lasted unfortunately for the first three days despite taking sea sickness pills! I managed to sleep OK though which was good as there were lots of early starts.
Over the next few days we visited several of the islands. We went to Floreana and went snorkling with sea lions. They came up really close and almost touched us. They were mostly juvenilles. We also went to a salt lagoon and caught a rare glimpse of 3 flamingos. Pablo our guide said he hadn´t seen any for weeks as there are not many shrimps anymore. They had a really strange call like a horn. We also went to a beach where there were sting rays right close to the sand. We got to put our feet in the water and they flapped right over our feet! Amazing! There were also some eagle
The Emma tortoise
We also saw a giant tortoise shell and some of us even had a go at getting inside. It was so heavy though I could hardly lift it. No wonder they walk so slowly!
rays in the deeper water. We also went snorkling and saw lots of tropical fish and tiny jelly fish. Pablo said they were harmless but one swam into my face and stung me on the lip! :( Luckily I survived!
The next day we went to Espanole and to a lovely white beach made from coral and fish poop - apparently! :/ There were lots of sea lions on the beach you could just walk up to and crabs and green and red marine iguanas. We sat on the beach and walked up and down and then went snorkling around the rocks. I saw a huge crayfish and some people saw rays and reef sharks. We then went to Gardener island and whent snorkling there. We saw lots of fish and sealions and swam inside a lava tube. Later we went ashore where we saw Blue Footed Boobies, which are birds with blue feet. They were so close on the path we had to step over them and most of them had eggs they were sitting on. We also saw their mating ritual which involves a funny little dance showing their feet. We also saw Albatros and babies, Nazca
Walking on the beach with the rays.
boobies, marine iguanas and a snake! At the end of the island there was a blow hole which sea water squirted through making a big fountain which was really cool to watch.
On Friday we woke up early for a dinghy ride to a place called Black Turtle Cove. There were lots of mangroves and it was like being on the river Amazon. We saw lots of blue footed boobies diving for food, herons, lava herons and pelicans. We also saw rays in the water, Galapagos sharks, reef sharks and sea turtles. We saw one sea turtle munching on the mangrove which was really cool. After that we had breakfast and then some of the guys left the boat to go back home. Me and Ben went to the beach while Pablo went to collect new guest from the airport. After lunch some people went snorkling then we went to North Seymour. There we saw lots of frigate birds nesting. The males have bit red sacks below their bills which they can inflate which was really cool to watch.
On Saturday I wasn´t feeling to great but made it through the trips and even did a bit of
snorkling. Our first stop was Rabida. The island has a red sand beach which was really cool. We saw sealions and a Galapagos hawk. We also saw some hermit crabs and Pablo blew on them to make them come out of their shells. Afterwards some people went snorkling but I sat on the beach with Pablo and we saw a whale in the distance! That afternoon we went to Puerto Egas. We went snorkling from the beach and this time we saw sea turtles! They were really close and swam right past us. After snorkling we took a walk around the island which was really rocky. There were lots of lava formations which has been named after Charles Darwin such as Dawin´s chair and Darwin´s toilet! There were lots of little rock pools and we even saw our first seal.
On Sunday we went to an island called Chinese Hat because it is pointed! The beach was really nice and we saw some more rock formations. We got inside a small lava tube that looked a bit like a log flume. In the afternoon we went to Bartolome island. This island had spectacular views even if you had to
Sealions were everywhere on every island. In some places you had to literally step over them to walk along the path!
walk up about 300 steps to get to see them! After that we went snorkling from the beach and saw our first penguin. I managed to snorkle right up close to where it was on the rocks and take a photo. Was really cool. The water was really warm too for the first time on the trip and there were loads of cool fish.
On Monday we got up early and left the boat by 6.30am to go to the island of South Plaza. This island had lots of iguanas and cacti. We also saw some gulls and their babies. After breakfast and lunch we went to Santa Fe island. Here there were loads of sealions on the beach and lots of young males fighting. We took a walk around the island and saw loads of land iguanas. After lunch we set sail to go back to Santa Cruz island as our trip is almost over. After dinner we had landed in Puerto Ayora, the main port and were able to go on land for a couple of beers in Bongo Bongo bar and a look in the shops. Was so nice to be back in civillisation!
This species of iguana were known as the Christmas iguana because of their green and red colouring.
was our last day on the Galapagos. We had breakfast and then left the boat by 6.30am. We caught the dinghy to the land and said goodbye to the crew. Then we went to the Charles Darwin Centre. This is a place where they have a breeding programme for tortoises. They breed lots of different species and then reintroiduce them back into the wild to their original island when they are 5 years old and can fend for themselves. We also saw Lonesome George who is the last giant tortoise from Pinta island. He was with two female tortoises but sadly George has had little success making babies so far. Luckily he is only 80 and they live untill 200 so there´s plenty of time! After the centre we headed back to the airport and the flight back to Quito. We decided we would have a McDonalds when we got back as we had been eating fruit and rice for 10 days and man it was good!!!
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