Galapagos and Beyond: day 12 - bye from Santa Cruz and back to Quito


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Published: June 28th 2018
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We had to pack and put out our bags as today was our last day. After breakfast the last trip was to Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz island. The landing was a wet one and so many people decided to stay on board the yacht, including us. Those who took the excursion went in hope of seeing flamingos. There used to be a large colony of flamingos on the island but due to El Nino the food chain was destroyed and most of the flamingos went to better pickings. However, there is a small colony left. The group were lucky and they saw two flamingos in the small pools on the beach.

The beaches also provide the main sea turtle nesting sites. Three of four times a year the turtles come inland onto the beaches and lay an average of 70 eggs at a time in the sand above the water line. The eggs are carefully covered and left to incubate. After about 60 days the eggs are ready to hatch. Once the turtles are hatched the junior turtles dig their way out of the sand and make their way down to the sea. At this time the turtles are at the most danger from predators. Those that make it to the shallows stay out of the way of sharks, birds and crustaceans but are still preyed on by fish. Young turtles are omnivorous eating plankton, sea worms, small crustaceans, and mollusks as well as sea grasses and algae.

Juvenile turtles move further out to sea and become herbivorous feeding on sea grasses and algae. Depending on the availability of food, sea turtles can live for between 10 and 25 years.

Once everyone was back on board and dried off we boarded the Zodiacs to go to the airport. It took a long time to get through immigration, security and checkin. We were looking for a thimble for my travel collection and strolled through duty-free. Whilst buying the thimble I found a mug for Don with a Blue Footed Booby on it. Caroline came running after us - they had called our flight and were about to close the doors. We rushed to the jetway but we were held up as another flight was coming in. There is not enough room for two airplanes to manoeuvre near the runway so one had to give way. And we weren’t the last to board - there was quite a queue behind us!

The flight to Quito via Guayaquil was uneventful. We arrived at the airport and got the bus to the same airport hotel. It was quite late once we had checked in so we ate dinner at the hotel. Our heads - and bodies - were still rolling and it felt for a few days like we were still at sea !

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