Galapagos!


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Published: May 10th 2016
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Ah Galapagos, the place has always held a fascination for me; the diversity of land and marine animals, volcanoes, land of Darwin's origins of Evolution and the sheer remoteness, what's not to like?? This has always been in my top ten of must sees, and now it was time to explore...

The conventional way to see the Galapagos is aboard a boat and cruising from spot to spot, but after seeing how bloody expensive this option was we decided to island hop our way around...while not seeing as much perhaps there was still plenty of opportunity for wildlife watching and best of all at our own pace (after speaking to several travelers over the course of our trip we discovered that the cruises were indeed pretty cool and that last minute opportunities were available at a heavily discounted rate...good reason to come back I guess!).

So we flew into San Cristobal from Quito with the plan to hang out there for a couple of days, hump our way via two boats to Isabela and then back to Santa Cruz where we would fly back to Quito...there would be a mix of organized day tours and exploring on our own,
Taking flight...Taking flight...Taking flight...

...at Cerro Brujo...
turned out to be a really nice balance overall...

After checking into our digs (Casa de Laura) and meeting the proprietress Laura herself (who provided quite the extensive welcome and info session-completely in Spanish of course which we speak/understand very little...lots of hand gestures! Haha....) we wandered down towards the Malecon to get our bearings and find a place that would take us out for a tour of Kicker Rock the following day...

First thing you notice as you approach the waterfront is the large colony of sea lions basking in the sun on the beach...and the sidewalks, park benches etc., they are literally everywhere! Very cool, although they do come with shall we say a certain odour...okay they stink, but cute nonetheless and really cool seeing them just hanging out wherever they pleased...

Sorted out a tour for the following day and then settled into a small patio overlooking the harbor and partook in our first ceviche of the trip, awesome! Love the stuff, perfect on a hot day with a cold pint, and this place had one of the best of the trip (no idea what the name is, it's hidden behind a dive shop near the southern end of the malecon)...took a wander around the small town and then back to the ranch to rest up for the following day...

Day 2 was the snorkeling tour to Leon Dormido, also known as Kicker Rock...really cool formation off the coast that has eroded in half, creating a small channel through the rocks...we landed first at a beach called Cerro Brujo, reputed to be one of the nicest beaches in all the Galapagos...it was beautiful, with the finest white sand I had ever seen...we got our first taste of the wildlife here, with pelicans and blue-footed boobies dive bombing the surf in search of lunch, sea lions lazing in the sun or shallows and my first glimpse of the black gnarly marine iguanas, they looked like Godzilla! I think these were my favourite animals of the bunch, they had so much character...

After an hour or so exploring it was back to the boat and off to Kicker Rock and the snorkeling portion of the day...forgot to mention how cold the water was, couldn't believe it when I waded in from the beach, and now we were suiting up to jump in...*gulp*...once the initial
I'm fabulous!I'm fabulous!I'm fabulous!

A wee bit of ham in some of these animals...haha...
cold water shock subsided after the less-than-graceful hop off the boat we were on our way for a loop around the island...it is really deep here, and the visibility isn't all that great so we didn't see a lot of activity but we did manage to spot a couple of turtles, a white tip shark and a sea lion which was cool...the currents here can be crazy, which we discovered as we tried to swim through the two rocks; after several unsuccessful attempts we gave up and drifted away...the boat's zodiac then ferried us to the far side where we were able to swim in this really cool crevasse, and although we didn't see a lot of action it was still a fun day out...

The following day we were on our own, so wandered up to the Interpretation Centre for a great overview of the history of the Galapagos Islands...there is a great series of boardwalks that leave from the centre and take you up to a couple of observation points, then swing you down to Las Tijeteras bay which is reputedly good for snorkeling, but it was pretty rough when we arrived so decided to just hang
CrabsCrabsCrabs

...loved the colour on these guys...
out for a bit...another trail led us down to Playa Carola which is a beautiful beach but again the red flags were out due to the rough conditions so we hung out with some marine iguanas for a while before heading back...

Stopped at Playa Mann where the conditions were a bit calmer, although still surprisingly cold...managed to wade in and do a little snorkeling, just some small fish amongst the rocks but at one point I looked up and was face to face with a sea lion! Startled me to say the least but he was just checking me out and wanting to play, really cool watching him/her circle around me for a good minute or two, doing barrel rolls and what appeared to be showing off, too funny...had an underwater camera so was able to snap a few pics as well...fun!

Great start to the islands in San Cristobal, but it was time to move on to our next stop: Isabela!

(Some photos copyright of Karen C., denoted by (KC)...used with kind permission)


Additional photos below
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Iguana IIIguana II
Iguana II

Could not get enough of these guys, as evidenced by all the pics...haha...
MaleconMalecon
Malecon

...it was a pretty quiet time of year, not a whole lot going on...
HarbourHarbour
Harbour

...looking back as we were off to Kicker Rock...
On display...On display...
On display...

...Frigate bird...
First glimpse...First glimpse...
First glimpse...

...of Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock)
Cerro BrujoCerro Brujo
Cerro Brujo

...stunning...
PelicanPelican
Pelican

...I've seen these before but they always seem so cool to me...


10th May 2016
Iguana!

Galapagos on the short list
This blog is a great start to this adventure. Eager to hear how you move around this area on a budget.
11th May 2016
Iguana!

Thanks guys...
...it's fairly easy to hop between the three main islands, there are ferries/boats that leave twice a day for about $30 a person per direction...overall it's the food/pints that were expensive, accommodation can be pricey as well but we were more than happy with the digs we got for $40-$50 a night (our dollar took a big hit before we came down which added 30% to all the prices as well...gah...).

Tot: 0.085s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 34; qc: 140; dbt: 0.0249s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.7mb