Blogs from Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos, Ecuador, South America - page 2


nach einer eher unruhigen nacht in unserem kuhstall brechen wir früh auf und fliegen über guayaquil auf die galapagos-inseln. ganz verrückte fragebögen müssen wir ausfüllen. ob wir lebensmittel mitnehmen? ok, die frage verstehe ich noch. sand? schmutz? erde? ja, jede menge! bergschuhe? ja, sehr dreckige! es wird uns aber immerhin kein strick daraus gedreht. und dann ist es endlich soweit: ein weiteres highlight unserer reise ist erreicht. wir betreten das rollfeld von baltra, eine klitzekleine airport-insel nördlich von santa cruz, und wie durch eine wand empfängt uns warm-schwüle luft. der flughafen ist fast so winzig, wie die insel selbst und sogleich kann man den hier noch wichtigeren umweltschutz spüren. kein strom für gepäckfliesbänder, wenig wasser zum händewaschen. und: $100,- pro person sind gleich mal bei der einreise zu entrichten. weil ja quasi alle inseln zusam... read more
crab on the wall
iguana hot stone party
pelikane im baum

With a tedious travel day ahead of us, we finished packing up our gear and headed down for our last breakfast on board. A final zodiac ride returned us to the pier where we first saw the ship and we were bid farewell by a sea lion lounging on a wooden bench. Several people (including Lauren and John) attempted to pose for photos on the bench, but it was made quite clear that he was not interested in sharing. We later learned that one of the children who disembarked after us, a boy a bit older than Andrew, had gotten too close and gotten a bite taken out of him! Fortunately they were able to patch him up sufficiently that he could catch his flight. A short bus ride took us back to the airport where ... read more
Back to where we started: Baltra Island
Long travel day

Our last full day in the Galapagos was tortoise day. We had slept quite well on the boat for the first part of the week, but less so on Friday night with large swells rocking the boat where we were anchored in academy bay. Our outing was a single long excursion, with lunch on shore. We took the zodiac into Porto Ayora, the largest settlement in the Galapagos with approximately 16,000 people. We visited the Charles Darwin Station, a large research institution that advises the National Park Service. We mostly learned about the giant tortoises and the breeding program that the Darwin Foundation operates. The tortoises differ from one island to another and they are most actively trying to restore tortoise populations on islands decimated by humans (mostly during the 19th century when big ships would ... read more
Turtle faces
Yellow Warbler
Tortoise Breeding Program

The morning activity was a short hike on the island of Santa Cruz. The walk was mostly along a sandy beach where we saw ghost crabs. These little guys are very different than the Sally Lightfoot crabs we’ve seen elsewhere – they scurry much more quickly and are much more skittish. At the slightest provocation they vanish into the sand. This made the photography a bit more challenging, but we got a few good shots. They have an almost cartoonish appearance, with their eyes attached on stalks above their bodies, as if added as an afterthought. Our main objective was to visit a brackish pond hoping to find the Galapagos flamingos, and we weren’t disappointed. Three of the bizarre birds were working their way through the pool, filtering out the small salt-loving critters that they enjoy ... read more
Ghost crab
View from Santa Cruz

I'm sure when everyone thinks of the Galapagos Islands they get images of giant tortoises appearing in their head. And so did I until........ I discovered that they have flamingos here as well!!! So while I have nothing against spending swags of money to get to the most controversial island in the world to see strange creatures living very comfortably next to humans, it is when I found out this information that it became even more worthwhile. I have been wanting to see flamingos ever since I was 'knee high to a grasshopper' and saw a flock of them on the TV a million years ago. Problem was, I didn't know where in the world they lived and really just fluked finding them here! By the way, it's not just the distance and the money to ... read more
Some new friends
Cabin luxury
Don't find this catus anywhere else in the world!

Our plan for Galapagos was to divide our time between the island of Santa Cruz (5 days) and a boat trip (8 days) around the western and northern circuit of islands (Santa Isabela, Fernandina, Bartolome and Genovesa). In theory this would give us the best of both worlds - a chance to organise our own trips and diving whilst based on Santa Cruz and to maximise the diversity of wildlife we would see whilst we were on the boat. But first we had to get there... After an enjoyable morning basking in the bright sun of Alausi (and in my case the afterglow of the Championship play off final victory) and marvelling at Alausi's transformation from sleepy backwater to bustling market town we boarded a bus to Guayaquil. On the map it looked like it would ... read more
John and Penny consider going native in Alausi...
Tree lizard in Guayaquil
An extra helper at the fish market

Wednesday 1st We leave our hostel in plenty of time to catch the blue bus back to the airport. As we reach the main street we find that there's no traffic at all and the streets are all cordoned off and there's armed police in full riot gear everywhere ! The busses aren't going to run from the normal place and when we ask some locals they don't know where the busses will be. We walk about a mile through check points, with police all around us and armoured cars parked in the side streets. It's 1st May and a public holiday and they're expecting riots ! We can't find the bus so walk back to the hostel for a taxi. The only problem being we don't have enough currency and the ATM's are all boarded ... read more
Quito 2
Marine Iguana Santa Cruz

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santa Cruz Island April 30th 2014

Vacation? Yes. Rest and relax? Not until today. I forego the first expedition of the day to see the land iguanas, it entails more boulder hopping and I opt for a massage instead, thank you Hilda. I return to the cabin just in time to head off for the 10:40 deep-water drift snorkel excursion; oh glory of glories, what a wonderful hour and a half. A sheer wall along Santa Cruz Island is bejeweled with corals, soft and hard and infinite varieties of vibrant multi-colored fish. The water is warm and the dive skin is more than enough protection from the sun and prevents chill in the water. This is a great ship, with lots of stairs. I am estimating I am clocking about 30 flights a day. Day two I really couldn’t figure out why ... read more
Sea Pencil Urchin
Galapagos Coral

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santa Cruz Island March 21st 2014

After 10 weeks of god knows how many super noodle dinners and scrimping and saving where possible, the time had finally come for Galapagos. Hoping for a super last minute deal, we booked a one way flight and hoped for some luck. Only three days prior to our flight departing, the deal was done. We had managed to bag ourselves a half price 8 day cruise around the north and west islands of Galapagos aboard a 'First class' boat. Money transferred and having just spent 1/4 of our 16 week budget on a one week trip, our expectations were high and were really hoping for something special. We arrived in Guayaquil late in the evening, with just enough time to grab some dinner, sort our bags and get to bed. Another early morning, however this time ... read more
Chilled Lizard
Curious sea lion

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santa Cruz Island February 27th 2014

So on Friday morning, I checked out of my hotel and headed from the old, historic part of town, to the new town and to the hotel where I would meet my group for the Galápagos tour. When I arrived, my room mate was out so I decided to take a trip up the cable car which overlooks Quito from a height of over 4000m. Unfortunately, that afternoon was rather cloudy so my view was much better on the cable car ride up and down than at the top but I got myself a hot chocolate and was happy! In the evening, we had our welcome meeting for the tour, where I met everyone I would be stuck with for the next ten days and got some basic information about our trip. Afterwards, my room mate ... read more
View from the cable car
On the cable car

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