Blogs from Galápagos, Ecuador, South America - page 3

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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos September 5th 2018

Another early-ish start today, leaving the luxury of the hotel at 4:30 to fly to Isla Baltra, the first of our Galápagos Islands. We have a stop off in Quayaquil along the way and I discover the Young Sheldon tv series - the precursor to The Big Bang - so snort with laughter rather than snore on the 3 hour trip. Everyone is obviously very excited to arrive and after the friendly customs people relieve us of USD100 we head off on a bus, then a ferry then another bus ending up after about an hour at Porto Ayora on Isla Santa Cruz. We transfer across to the Queen Beatrix, our home along with 14 others, for the next 5 days. The cabins are spacious and the meals are rather good. The crew are friendly. The ... read more
Yellow Finch - Santa Cruz
Tortoise - Darwin Research Centre
Tortoise - Darwin Research Centre

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos July 14th 2018

The Galapagos Islands, probably made even more famous by planet earth 2's incredible footage of the baby Iguanas first steps in to life by fleeing dozens of snakes. We didn't see that kind of drama but we did see heaps of Iguanas, and I mean heaps. The Galapagos Islands is a great place to visit, it's so unique and special and a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you're in the area, GO! That said, the start of our trip to the islands was a little bit stressful as both our bags didn't turn up at the baggage claim for some bizarre reason which left us with no spare clothes and toiletries for 24 hours (apparently a common occurance). Also our bank cards were blocked which meant stress levels were high as we only had $30 ... read more
Marine Iguana
Los Tuneles Day Trip on Isabela Island
Blue Footed Boobie

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos May 10th 2018

I woke up to the sounds of the overhead PA system making flight announcements in English and Spanish. Bev was still sleeping across several seats in the row across. We had met up the night before, she coming from Montreal and me coming from Cusco, and had spent the night in Jorge Chavez International Airport trying to get a few hours of sleep. I seemed to be recovering from my recent bout of traveler's diarrhea and even had some appetite after not having eaten much of anything for the past 24 hours. Only a few weeks prior, Bev and I had come up with a crazy plan to reach the Galapagos Islands. This was a destination that both of us longed to see, considering our love of unique biodiversity. Bev often says I have "the cockamamie" ... read more
Tortoise
The Duo
The Hunter


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 ... read more
Thimble and Mug from Galapagos


The yacht stopped for sightseeing at two spots on Santiago Island during the day - Egas Port on the west coast and Sullivan Bay in the southeast. Caroline and Max again saw black sandy beaches, uneven areas of volcanic rock, and various wildlife on land and in the water. We stayed on board the yacht to rest through the sabbath day until sundown. We relaxed and read, and chatted to any other passengers who were around. In truth we did not feel we were missing much Galapagos viewing. We had come to feel that while the islands certainly hosted some unique evolutionary creatures and plants, there was in fact little bio-diversity here. The extreme saltiness of the environment caused nature to breed species which could survive here but not very many different ones. After visiting ... read more


The yacht had not moved very far since yesterday. Both excursions this morning and afternoon were to areas on the northwestern side of Isabela Island, opposite Fernandina. The morning destination was Urbina Bay, featuring a black volcanic beach. So far I (Lesley) had avoided 'wet landings' and continued doing so. Don, Caroline and Max boarded the Zodiac to hike around a flat-ish rocky area and then to spend an hour snorkeling. Don describes here what they saw. After wading to the beach we donned the hiking shoes we had carried. Our snorkling gear we left in a cluster in the beach - it wasn't as though people were going to meander by and plunder our stuff! We wandered the trail following the guide, who highlighted plants and birds that we passed. This guide also pointed ... read more
after tortoise ate apples
Caroline examines what Max found on volcanic Urbina beach
Writing on the Wall of Tagus Cove with HMS Beagle 1835


Day 9 - Isabella and Fernandina Island 3 May 2018 + edits Isabella 5,000 population -> Isabela 2,000 At 3:30 am we crossed the equator again to the northern hemisphere. No we didn’t notice any difference. Then at 5:30 am we again crossed back to the southern hemisphere - but we were still asleep and the motion of the rocking of the yacht didn’t change at all! We slept late this morning - until 7 am and again awoke to the magnificent rock formations of Isabela Island. Four of the islands are inhabited by humans and Isabela is one of them. The human population of approximately 2,000 lives in the south of the island. During the trip with the exception of the beginning and the end we avoided all the populated parts of the archipelago. After ... read more
dark rocks line Isabela Island cave
Sea Lions swim around our Zodiac
way to Fernandina lava fields


Today was our last trip with Hernan who was leaving the ship after the morning excursion. We were up at 6 am - our bodies awoke an hour too early! - and it was pitch black. We dressed and said our morning prayers as the sun rose, then joined the group for breakfast as usual. We piled into the Zodiacs and went to Black Turtle Cove on the north shore of Santa Cruz island. En route we saw Golden Rays gliding and leaping out of the water. These manta rays leap high above the sea and land on their backs. This is because they have parasites on their backs and this is the way to rid themselves of them. (We did not imagine that we would experience this phenomenon so emphatically the next day.) On ... read more
Golden Manta Ray
Rays by mangroves in Black Turtle Cove
Monarch butterfly on Lantana by Tortoise


This morning we were anchored off the coast of Jervis Island or Rabida in Spanish. This island lies at the very heart of the archipelago’s volcanic activity. The beach is deep red surrounded by cliffs and steep slopes of volcanic cinder cones. The morning activity involved a 'wet landing' so I declined and enjoyed a wonderful hour reading and relaxing on board the yacht. Don and Caroline went out on the Zodiac for a sightseeing ride around some of the Rabida Island coast. They saw a wide variety of birds including Pelicans, Herons, and Galapagos Brown Noddy Terns. There were also Sea Lions sitting or lounging on rock ledges by the slope to the shore. They eventually arrived at a beach on Rabida and set out with the guide to see some of the local ... read more
Pelicans on Rabida rocks
Galapagos Brown Noddy Terns
Caroline ready to snorkel

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santa Cruz Island April 30th 2018

We certainly slept well to the rocking of the boat! When we woke up the scenery was amazing. Steep cliffs in front of us and the stillness and silence was incredible, and the air was so pure and so unpolluted. This was surely Paradise. We decided to recite our morning prayers at the front of the yacht. At 7am precisely the sounds of the Beatles singing “Magical Mystery Tour” blasted out from the speakers. Each cabin is wired up to the P.A. system and there is no getting away from it. The sound inside the cabins is reasonably muted on most mornings for a soft wake-up, but in this case we were standing directly in front of the speaker horns above the pilot house and the music was somewhat louder than the rest of the ... read more
Magnificent Frigatebirds aboard
Galapagos Marine Iguana
amazing Palo Santo tree




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