The Galapagos....... It's not the things you see but how they are....


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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos
May 7th 2012
Published: May 22nd 2012
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Here's the boatHere's the boatHere's the boat

Our home for the next week
Day 1 of our Galapagos Cruise..... Bit of a con really... Instruction was to arrive at the hotel for a briefing at 6pm.... Which we were well in time for ... Only problem.... It started at 5pm.... So only the people who had been staying there and received their revised briefing packs early were at the briefing.... Our briefing was therefore a short heads up, we were showed to our room and that was our first impression of what we'd paid a fortune for .... Not exactly the best value for money day!!!! This was followed by the worst nights sleep we've had since the guy with the runs kept us up back in Ushuaia ..... This hotel (Hotel Sanfransisco ) is obviously used by a lot of companies with big groups and this big group certainly let us know they were leaving at about 3.30am and as we were due to depart at 6am sleeping was pretty hopeless!!! Add to that Jon's bed, which was like a floor full of squeaky floor boards, which erupted every time he breathed never mind moved and the fact the included breakfast only started after we'd left and they had the cheek to charge
The CabinThe CabinThe Cabin

More comfortable than we could of imagined, but we did have one of the best rooms
us for teas and coffees, which were black as they had no milk.... You'd think the scale of the moaning would have been extreme... Maybe the lack of it was due to the fact we were getting out of this god awful place and heading for one of the worlds wildlife havens .... It could only get better right... And of course it did...It's about a 3 hour flight out to the islands via Guaiqual, which is a city on the coast, where we stopped to pick up more passengers from. The view of the islands as you are approaching .... just like arriving home.... Seriously just like coming in over the British isles.... All rugged coast and greenery...We paid our $100 park fee each, took off our 2 layers of jumpers and me, my leggings, which I had on under my shorts, for that all important extra bit of warmth in Quito, and met the rest of our group.There were 10 of us who left Quito... An Australian couple called Mark and Vanessa, who had been travelling around the world together but not the usual places, Africa, Middle East and were heading to Venezuela, 4 separate Australian girls Lisa,
Happy first afternoon on the beachHappy first afternoon on the beachHappy first afternoon on the beach

Beautiful even on a cloudy afternoon
who was to become our travel buddy for the next 3 weeks, Evita who was taking a short sabbatical and heading back to the Amazon after having only found 1 tarantula on her first attempt, Cassie who again was on a short break from her work as an ecologist and had a bit more time than her boyfriend, who she'd travelled Argentina and Peru with, so bolted on the Galapagos without him... Go girl!! and 5 English people, Scarlet a doctor in the making from Glossop, doing her doctorate in the male sex industry and who was 5 months pregnant, Archna and Hanita from London, who never stopped smiling and had so much fun on the trip it was infectious and us! At the island we were joined by fellow water babes and people who would become our dive and snorkelling pals!! Delphine and Thomas from France, who were our snorkelling buddies for the first part of the trip and on their honeymoon (6 months.... Wow!) did you know in France it's law that you can take a sabbatical after working for a company for 5 years!!! They were going home with a lot more than they came with though
Heron chilling outHeron chilling outHeron chilling out

The first of many amazing birds
😉!!! Lani, who is totally responsible for our extended 5 days on Santa Cruz when we were supposed to have been back in Quito with the rest of the group on the 8 day trip, as she'd been on a 3 day diving trip prior and seen so much!! A Japanese guy called Kinji, a diving nut too and Vezner, who will go down in history for her reaction to seeing Orcas off the bow of the boat! We took the short bus ride to our boat Yate Darwin with our guide Alberto and were geared up in our Life vests ready for the crossing when we spotted our first piece of wildlife that stopped us all in wonder.... Lots of sleeping sea lions under the dock....Little did we know our first spotting was literally nothing compared to what we would see over the course of the next few days...Lani, Lisa, Archna and Hanita were all booked on the 8 day cruise with us, as was Scarlet originally but the crossings were too rough she decided to call it a day with the rest who had booked a 4 day cruise. The first place we stopped after a lovely Wahoo
Beautiful Flamingo'sBeautiful Flamingo'sBeautiful Flamingo's

We were lucky to find these beauties
fish lunch was Las Bachas, which to quote Alberto was a grade zero for snorkelling as far as the level of marine life we'd see compared to what we would see over the course of our trip but before that we had a walk around the island and were lucky enough to see loads of flamingos and marine iguanas, then it was in for our snorkel, which at the time was great, I say that as we have now become very spoiled as far as what we've seen... There were loads of surgeon fish, puffers, angels and even the odd grouper.... Then it was back to the boat for some sundowners on the deck, the 6.30pm briefing on the next days activities followed by another gorgeous meal....and a great night chatting, until we were privileged to the best live entertainment show ever... Sea lions, competing with sharks, competing with pelicans for fish.... What a show..... Just a typical night off the back of the boat in the Galapagos....That night we had to do an 8 hour crossing to Las Plazas on Santa Fe our destination for day 2 and it was rough! We thought we'd dropped lucky with a top
Welcome to GalapagosWelcome to GalapagosWelcome to Galapagos

Probably the most famous National Park at the world
deck cabin, complete with door and window not to mention the slightly larger bottom bunk which doubled as a bed big enough for 2!! Well word of warning.... It rocks more at the top....., so much so it was actually quite a challenge to get to our cabin never mind keep any dinner down or sleep..... We all felt rough the next day except for Lani who had some super strong travel pills, which she kindly shared for night two.... Which was an even worse crossing, think this was the day that made Scarlet cave....it was so bad, so much so that there was no way anything was staying down ...... Certainly not the little tablet Lani kindly gave me taken far too late, or the boat set of too early, not sure which....... Thankfully, after those first two days, we either got our sea legs or it got better and we could relax and enjoy things a lot more. There has been so much beautiful stuff we've seen on this trip it's hard to capture it all and you do get a bit blazee to it all... Sea Lions, Turtles, sharks, rays become the norm when you set foot
Amazing IguanasAmazing IguanasAmazing Iguanas

Every island has there own, each of them amazing
in the water to snorkel, iguanas are present in their hundreds so when you take your first glance and see one you think they've multiplied when you look back and that one is in fact 6 which just blend so well into the rocks.... Hawks land next to you and stare you out on land..... Totally not intimidated..... Sea Lions are everywhere swimming with you, lazing on the beach and you all but have to step over them..... And the birds or should I say the boobies.... Are amazing and we 'love boobies' ....Especially the blue footed ones and their mating dance, which is the coolest thing ever!!! Albatross females choosing their mates for life through beak chattering mating duels, magnificent frigate males puffing their throats out to attract their mates...... And all this done whilst you walk by, they are so tame! Espanola island was our island for day three and as the oldest and most southern this one gets the most hype and it does live up to it all.... Here we got to see everything including a blow hole but the reef sharks sleeping under the rock took the star prize especially when we found ourselves swimming
The LandscapeThe LandscapeThe Landscape

Different to what we expected but very beautiful
with three. By this point we were starting to understand a bit more that our preconceived ideas of this trip weren't going to be met and the whole beauty of this place is not in the wildlife you see, as it's pretty much the same from island to island, it's how natural it all is due to the inspiration of Charles Darwin who came here in 1535....they've basically kept everything as natural as possible and removed any animals that aren't native, which is why everything is so tame. It's the ideal world I suppose, a world without interference.... How they're meant to be... And if the numbers of animals and sea life are anything to go by and how fearless they are... It's clear to see the damage we do....Floreana was day four, which had some amazing snorkelling, up close and personal for ages with a rather large green sea turtle and heading out to the devils crown for a bit more drift snorkelling topped off a great day. It wasn't all about the sea though, although that was the highlight for most of us. Post Office bay is here, which is where the sailors used to do drop off
Iguana close upIguana close upIguana close up

The rule is stay two metres away and they didn't seem to mind
their mail in hope a passing ship would be going in the direction of their loved ones and take them back.... And they keep the tradition alive today... And it's a hell of a lot more efficient than the Argentinian Postal Service to say the least.... The cards we posted in El Calafate and Buenas Aires almost three months ago still haven't arrived yet the ones we posted here have!!!! Check out that!! This was our fave day and we had some great sundowner chats this night as it was the guys who were only on the four day cruises last day... We'd already had great snorkelling, a bit of fun with the postcards and great company and decided it was all of ours best day, when the captain spotted dolphins off the front of the boat.... As if this day could get any better... Oh but it could..... Not only were they dolphins but no ordinary dolphins.... They were Orcas (killer whales)...oh my god!!!! A pod in the distance playing off the bow...... Just beautiful.... Only partially spoiled by our Serbian friends obvious lack of interest as her comment was 'you can sea loads of these at sea world!'....
A caring parentA caring parentA caring parent

Check out the egg
Classic! Day five was island bound on the main land visiting the giant tortoise first in the Charles Darwin Station, where you meet Lonesome George who's the last of his kind....and then in the afternoon up in the hills to see them in the wild, well wild ish..... You also get to go through some cool lava tubes up there, where we walked within half a meter of a barn owl, which like all the animals here... Didn't bat an eye!!! By day six we'd bonded with our new boat buddies, three Brazilian girls, a Canadian couple, Keith and Irene and our faves Graham and Sharon from Oz and Andreas from Germany and after a rocky night traveling hit Puerto Egas- Espumilla Beach- Buccaneer Cove, three spots on Santiago Island, where we got to meet the second type of sea lion of the Galapagos, the fur sea lion, which is smaller than the Galapagos Sea Lion.... My beautiful new floppy hat, purchased only the day before saw itself as a new addition to their world as it blew of my head and sunk into one of the tidal pools but again the snorkelling made up for it! Day seven we
LocustsLocustsLocusts

More colourful than we had expected
moved onto Bartolome, where we walked across a hundred year old lava flow and followed it up with a snorkel around the bay with penguins, sharks and many other types of fish.... Even writing this it's hard to comprehend we saw so much wildlife and marine life and didn't just get to see them but to really be with them as they are just so unaffected by human interaction.. It really has to be seen to be appreciated....Our last night on the boat saw some cheeky beers and loads more great conversion, shark spotting off the bow and a celebratory cake to tuck into thanks to the great crew. Our final excursion the following morning saw the magnicant frigates doing their do and some final mating dances from our all time fave the blue footed boobie....What a trip.... What a place....not really what we expected but so much more ....it's free to change your flights and stay longer, so of course that's just what we did!!!! No need to rush home for day ten, especially as we'd had a taster of what it had in store with day one....Five more days of 2-9 if you please!!! and as Andreas, Lisa,
The sea lions The sea lions The sea lions

They never stop putting a smile on your face
Hanita and Archna had decided to stay too we knew we had plenty more good times in store.


Additional photos below
Photos: 51, Displayed: 30


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Snorkelling with seal lionsSnorkelling with seal lions
Snorkelling with seal lions

We really had fun with these guys
And turtlesAnd turtles
And turtles

And snorkelling with these
Sea lions and smilesSea lions and smiles
Sea lions and smiles

They seem to be just as inquisitive as us
Time for your close upTime for your close up
Time for your close up

Is this my best side
More smilesMore smiles
More smiles

He seems to be happy with the crab
Happy togetherHappy together
Happy together

Another happy couple
A new island A new island
A new island

A new iguana
Amazing cactusAmazing cactus
Amazing cactus

They grew this way to stop being eaten


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