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Published: February 12th 2008
Quito - again, flight first. Coming out of Panama I just about had a body cavity search at the boarding gate because someone thought my bag smelled when they were crossloading it from my San Jose flight to the Panama flight to Quito. Then the dog came and didn’t find anything so I was free - I must admit, Shappelle Corby did come to mind. Then, landing in Quito you just about touch down on the tops of skyscrapers right at the end of the airstrip - made it safe though and yet another equator city that is quite chilly! Damn Townsville, I am moving to the equator where it is cooler. Quito itself is a nice little town with beautiful backdrops of green mountains against big city buildings. Didn’t have time to do any tours because I had to sort out flights and change hotels again. Went for walk into old town one afternoon and is nice little city, feeling quite safe, seeing little colourful houses on green hillside, another Christ statue overlooking city and Independence Square where there were heaps of locals on a Sunday ave. Very nice.
Galapagos - better than expected! After sea lions at
the boat boarding shed lazily resting on the seats, heaps of birds - challenge anyone to take a photo without a bird in it! Birds bombdiving reefs for food, masked boobies, red footed boobies, frigates, about 400 million swallows, short eared owls,
Visited Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz first, pretty crabs, fresh turtle nests, marine iguanas and difficult snorkeling in the waves and rocks.
Genovesa - an open caldera where we walked and saw heaps of birds and then we snorkeled with the hammerhead sharks (only saw from clifftop and didn’t see one while in the water thank god), saw rays though a sea lion and heaps of fish. Then an afternoon walk where we saw the Giant Petrel with his red throat ballooned up which was cool, got a shot of him flying like that as well that looks rather uncomfortable!
Bartolome and Santiago - saw the Pinnacle Rock and the lava moonlike landscape of Santiago and then climbed to top of Bartolome for postcard view of islands. Then down to beach for a swim and snorkel. Was great! Swam with penguins, sea lions, octopuses (one chased me) and then 3 sharks, biggest one was about 2.5m, didn’t realize
Quito Indepencia Square
Love that all locals are out on Sunday ave enjoying life!
till a few days later that swimming with sharks isn’t always within a few metres and then having them come within about 1m I am sure to lick me and see how I tasted, ended my swimming anyway until a few metres away played with sea lions and penguins.
Santa Cruz/Puerto Ayora - I have to start with the anchoring in a busy harbour that I would be scared to take my 15’ boat into and our capitan parked our 25m boat with relative ease. Then checked out town by night and was very nice. Next day, visited Charles Darwin Centre and saw giant tortoises including Lonesome George who spent probably 25 years alone on island, then another 20 years in captivity alone and didn’t know what to do with the girls.
Floreana (Post Office Bay) - first saw pink flamingos which are brightest I have ever seen, then sting rays and sea turtles waiting to come and nest and heaps of nests. Then snorkeled with sharks (sleeping this time), rays, sea snakes, sea turtles I didn’t see and then a sea lion which played with us for ages, we were diving and twisting and turning with him and don’t
know who was having more fun, him or us. Then moved to Post Office Bay and left a postcard and there weren’t any to deliver, to Australia even let alone my area. Then watched our crew play beach soccer on a pretty well setup field for the next couple of hours - have enough sun already to be snorkeling again.
Espanola - nice island where we saw Iguana City - heaps of pretty pink iguanas because it is mating season and a fight or two which was cool. Then the international Albatross landing strip, a place where they all land but none around at present. Masked boobie and blue footed boobie colonies which was cool. Saw the blow hole which was pretty cool and finally went off after 10 mins of waiting. Then went to sea lion beach which was full of sea lions where you can walk really close which was awesome. Saw a little baby must have been born today. Sting rays right on edge of water, one even beaching himself to take a closer look at us but then ‘swam’ back into the water. Then snorkeled and saw another shark but Bob was duck diving and he
swam away, more sea lions and heaps of fish.
San Christobel - nice little town, capital of Galapagos but not as big as Santa Cruz, only about 5000 people. Saw interpretation centre with history of Galapagos which was interesting and then walked into town.
Santa Fe - first had a snorkel with sea turtles, one with no back left leg and half his shell missing, oddly shaped like a mouth of a shark. Then played with sea lions again but was very cold so was first out of water. Then quick change and went for a walk on beach with sea lions (one chased me which was quite scary), then saw a few land iguanas.
North Seymour Island - last visit was a quick walk around island getting muddy feet weighing about a tonne but saw heaps of frigates with their balloons up which was pretty cool.
The amount of times throughout Galapagos I nearly killed animals by stepping on them, not scared of us and nesting or laying in middle of path or just off looking similar to rocks. Luckily though my count ended at zero! Oh, found a book where the sharks we saw close on first
day were either Silky Sharks or Galapagos sharks, more probably the first but either of which are recognized as potentially dangerous especially when spear fishing.
Central America accommodation overall - hot showers are a luxury, well sometimes they are there, you just have to work out what combination of the 3 taps works, sometimes H and C is not hot and cold, I think the plumbers must have seen the C for caliente and then just had a leftover H to use on the cold tap. Even then though they must be colour blind or red doesn’t mean hot and blue cold over here. And then, to work all this out, you have to run the taps for at least 5 mins for the hot water to come through anyway. Oh, the other thing while I am at it, bloody stairs! Why does noone have a lift or escalators? And then why….. am I always on the top bloody floor, whether it is the 2nd floor or 5th I can bet I’ll be on top floor.
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