Flag shared by Peru and Ecuador and Columbia

2007 Peru / Ecuador



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Map of Galapagos with our journey noted
(Adapted from http://www.starfish.ch/scubadiving/map/Galapagos.gif)
We landed at Baltra and immediately boarded the Carina for a three-day tour of the eastern Galapagos: Black Turtle Lagoon on Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, San Cristobal, Espanola, and back to Santa Cruz. Eac shore excursion was about an hour, so we did much more sailing and eating than we did visiting islands.

After sailing we moved into the Solymar Hotel in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. From there we visited the nearby Charles Darwin Research Station, a school, a sugar cane factory, and Seymour island. The yellow line thru Santa Cruz is the road across the island. All access to the island is from the north, so we traversed the road twice in each direction.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Up early. Bus to plane to Guayaquil to Baltra (island with military airport), Galapagos. Bus to dinghy to boat, the Carina. Boat right narrow strait between Baltra and Santa Cruz. Lunch aboard boat. Sailed around Santa Cruz to Black Turtle Lagoon; something may be black, but it is neither the lagoon nor the turtles.

Tedious dinghy ride around lagoon looking for turtles. Saw a few ripples where heads had just then disappeared. Did saw Blue-footed boobies, pelicans, rays, a strange fish, and my own shadow. Pelicans sit with their beaks down, looking disapproving; turns out they are letting the salt out of their system through glands near their eyes.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

During the night we sailed to Santa Fe island, mooring in a little cove with other ships. Anchor chain awakens us with thunder. After breakfast we walked through the island, seeing sea linons on the beach, mockingbirds, iguanas, cacti, lava lizards. I lagged and shot a painted locust.

Lunch aboard the Carina. Elegant as always.

Sailed during the afternoon to San Cristobal island. Visited the "Interpretation Center" in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galapagos. I walked back to town. Beach had a portion set aside for sea lions. I called them municpal seals.

Dinner aboard Carina. Elegant, as always.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sailed overnight to Espanola, the most southern of the islands. In the morning we walked on a beach. Not much new to see. During lunch we sailed to the other side of the island and Punta Suarez. The afternoon walk was much more challenging and interesting: sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs, piles of Red iguanas, mating Blue-footed boobies, lava lizards, Wave Albatrosses, a blow hole, terns.  Near te end I lagged and could not catch up. Turns out Mauricio had to get back to the boat quickly. He didn't even wait to load others onto the dinghy. By the next day he was feeling better.

Farewell dinner on the Carina. Sailed overnight back to Santa Cruz.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Landed on the north shore of Santa Cruz and bused across the island to Porta Ayora, the biggest settlement in the Galapagos. Along the way we stopped at a gravel pit, two pits caused by volcanic subsidence, a tortoise area (Rancho Primicia), and a lava tube. Tortoises get big, but stay dumb. Hotel Solymar, very elegant; we took up most of the place. Resident one-winged pelican. Sea lions climb out of the sea, swim across the pool.

Lunch was with a local family, but a family that runs a B&B, so they usually feed guests there. On this day they took us to another restaurant. Not the authentic Galapagoan experience. Afternoon spent relaxing. I went to internet cafe to get more photos onto CD and write some stuff on a workstation. Nice sunset pictures.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I woke early and walked through Puert Ayora taking pictures. The rest of the group then went to a schol and a sugar cane  distillery. I decided to relax and read my current Nevada Barr. I had heard that sun awnings were not sun proof, but I forgot. Red head, Red ankles, all without being actually in the sun. Nancy suggested aloe vera, I got some, slathered it on for a few days, and avoided not only the pain, but also most of the peeling. Aloe vera is truly a mircle drug.

We were invited to luch at the B&B and did so. Then we toured the Darwin Station, a research center breeding tortoises and other fine reptiles. Before dinner I went out and bought the aloe vera.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

We took a bus back across the Island and then boated to Seymour, a small island just the other side of Baltra. This was a sepctacular walk. The male frigatebirds were trying to attract mates and had inflated their startlingly red throat pouches. Also many nesting Blue-footed boobies and their offspring. A big iguana crossed warily right in front of me as I shot him. I tried many times to get photos of flying birds, but did not really succeed.

Long bus ride back across the island to town.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Early bus back across the island. Ferry to Baltra. Another bus to airport. Plane to Guayaquil. Waiting in the in-transit lounge another guest tried to reinsert a wine bottle in an advertising display. Pushed another bottle right on through on onto the floor. Great concern that it almost hit me, but I got only the tiniest of splashes.

Plane to Quito, bus to Mercur. Farewell dinner in the evening in Quito. And Mauricio hopped right back on a plane to Santa Cruz where he makes his home.

All the islands have English names given by the British in addition to their Spanish names.

The ocean is relatively shallow near the islands, but drops off precipitously to over 9000 feet.

The map above is http://www.starfish.ch/scubadiving/map/Galapagos.gif, from www.starfish.ch/scubadiving/Galapagos.html

Other maps that excel for topography or place names are at geodyssey.co.ukgalapagos-islands-tourguide.com, and ecuadorexplorer.com.

Copyright 2007, Zweibieren
5 Sep 2007  11:57 PM
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