10.11.2009 - 17.11.2009 24 °C
There is only one way to describe the Galapagos... Fantastic!
We did an 8 day cruise around the islands and had such a good time. It far exceeded our expectations ... And our expectations were pretty high. The scenery was really diverse and many areas reminded us of the west coast of Scotland, beautiful deserted islands with great coastal scenery.
We chose to go on a boat called the Samba, a medium sized motor sailer taking a maximum of 14 passengers. We only had 12 of us on board.
We could not have been happier with our choice, our guide Juan was fantastic ... Really knowledgeable, great attitude to conservation and actively avoided the crowds (mainly by us having to get up at 5.30 every day... Worth it though to get the wildlife to ourselves most of the time).
We took loads of books with us thinking we'd have plenty of time to read.... Nope.. Too busy! Everyday consisted of a combination of walks ashore to see wildlife and birds, snorkelling trips and trips in the dinghy. We mainly sailed at night.
On our first day we visited South Plaza island, where large iguanas and sea lions were lazing around everywhere. You had to be careful not to stand on them because they sat in the middle of the path and didn't move when you approached them. We then sat on the cliff for ages watching huge numbers of sea birds including the enormous Frigate birds. Beautiful scenery.
The next day we visited the main port and the Charles Darwin Research station to learn about the islands. We saw mainly giant Tortoises.... Including the famous Lonesome George who is the last in his species. The tortoises are huge and not concerned about people at all. Spent sunset watching them settle down for the night in a big pond!
That night we did a long overnight sail to Espanola island.... The sea was pretty rough and everyone was on sea sickness tablets... Stuff was flying around the cabin... it was so rough in our cabin with things flying everywhere in the dark that Rona couldn't sleep for laughing!
Started the next morning walking on a beautiful white sandy beach with a sea lion colony. We just sat and watched them for a couple of hours playing, fighting, sleeping.. they would come right up to us for a nosy, especially the baby sea lions... all the time turtles were swimming offshore ... it was difficult to know where to look there was so much going on! Then time for a swim and snorkel. Having just been to Belize we thought the snorkelling was pretty average at first.. then 4 sea lions decided to come and join us for a play... There's nothing like swimming along with a sea lion next to you staring straight at you as if to say... come on, do something interesting....Great!
Every day just kept getting better but it was always different. The animals are just not scared of people and generally ignored us... We have so many photos it's scary.
Our boat went around most of the islands and around the outside of the biggest island Isabela, where few boats go so we spent a few days with almost no other boats. A huge highlight was when we went snorkelling to see the turtles. We snorkelled into a sea pool where there must have been 10 or more turtles, we just floated around with them ... amazing experience!
Hard to know where to begin with the rest of the wildlife.... Sat on the beach with the marine iguanas, watched an albatross feeding it's chick, went on a dinghy ride in the mangroves watching turtles floating past and mating. Watched white tipped reef sharks and penguins swimming.... Yip, altogether an absolute must destination for people who love wildlife!
After we left the Galapagos we spent a couple of days in Quito with PGD... Post Galapagos Depression.... Missing the wildlife! Then we got our act together and headed to the Amazon for the next part of the trip.
Only 2+ months left to go now, time is flying past but we're having a ball!!!