Galapagos Islands - 10 to 16 July 2015July 14, 2015 in Ecuador ⋅ 🌙 24 °C
**Jaime's DISCLAIMER** vacation Keith wrote this over the span of a few days and after the consumption of various alcoholic beverages. He justifies the scattered thoughts with "I am not being paid nor being graded so I will put forth no more effort"...grumpy muffin Keith appears to be back.
We landed in the Galapagos and had to take 2 buses and a ferry to get to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz. At the bus stop we walked across the street to a tour company that got us a good deal on a cruise that was leaving later that day. We also got a day cruise for our last day in the island....but there will be more on that later.
We took a taxi back up to the ferry by the airport and got to stop and see giant tortoises, lava tunnels and scenic craters along the way. All were really cool. At the ferry we saw Bob, Glenda and crew (the same group on our Atlanta to Quito flight). We caught up with them and traded stories and pics of our adventures. Once our boat arrived, we found out we would be joining other friends we'd made. We met up with the Californian's we met standing in line at the Quito airport. It was a joyous reunion as Jaime was really happy she could talk to her nursing mentor. (Not sure this was included in a previous blog....oh well.)
It was super hot below deck on the boat and our 'stateroom' could only be described as a small closet with two shelves and a leaky bucket for a toilet. Only one could stand at a time, which meant only one could work/pack/unpack. It was frustrating at times, but we made it work. We weren't there often as we spent most of the time on the top deck. One night we got a little queasy as the seas were rough.
The first day, we went walking on a lava field in Sullivan's bay. The lava formed 160 years ago and the guide really put the history of the island formation in context. We took a lot of pics went snorkeling afterwards. The visibility wasn't awesome, but it was definitely a fun experience. We were able to go snorkeling again after lunch and then we hiked up Bartolome (sp?). We saw great views and took more pics. We saw a lone penguin and multiple sea lions. Also saw cool fish while snorkeling and cool birds, snakes, iguanas and cacti. We came back to boat and polished off a bottle of wine with dinner and while traveling to our next stop. The stars were unreal.
Overall, our 4 day trip was awesome. We toured around the islands and saw native plants and animals. We saw white tipped reef sharks and at one point Jaime and Keith stuck their heads in an underwater cave and saw a big shark. It was at this point they surfaced with a quickness. They also swam with sea lions in murky water. It was a little unnerving to see them dart in and out of view.
Food on the cruise was good for the most part, but there could have been more. Jaime and Keith served as the garbage disposal for the rest of the passengers, routinely finishing other people's food.
The animals weren't afraid of people and we got extremely close. We saw boobies, hawks, pelicans, various other birds, iguanas, fur seals, sea lions, sharks, rays, sea snakes, tortoises, sea turtles, various fish, and much more.
We toured Santa Cruz, James island (Isle Santiago), and did a day trip to San Cristobal on the last day even though we tried to get out of it since we kind of had enough time on a boat.
Most people don't take credit cards in the Galapagos, and we didn't have enough cash since you can only take so much out at a time. We had to leave Jaime's passport with the tour agency and we paid the rest when we got back.
The other humans on the boat included Israelis, Germans, a Scandanavian couple with their 3 year old, and another American couple with their 12 year old daughter (the people we met in line in Quito.)
We shopped around Puerto Ayora for a mask for Jaime and an affordable tortoise for Keith. Jaime's awesome negotiation skills in Spanish got us better deals.
We also did laundry as Keith's dirty laundry was incredibly offensive to Jaime.
The day after our cruise, we did the day cruise down to San Cristobal. It was an awful decision. We took a 2 hour boat ride in rough seas. We sat in the back of the boat so as not to get seasick, and got drenched. Once we landed, we were met by the tour operator who gave us our snorkel gear...sans wet suit. Everyone else got a wetsuit, but not us. The water was a lot colder there than on our previous excursions. We were supposed to see sharks, but the location served as a better dive site and we couldn't really sea much. We did see sea lion and a couple turtles, but we couldn't see the bottom so it left a lot to be desired. Afterwards they took us to a beach with a bunch of biting horseflies. It was at this point that we were over it. After a carb heavy lunch, we went back to the port and walked around for 10 minutes before getting back on our 2 hour boat ride in rough seas. It was a better ride and at one point, Keith had Jaime on one shoulder and a tired Ecuadorian on the other. All in all, it was not how we wanted to end the trip. The day was not a total loss. We had a lovely lobster in coconut sauce dinner in the middle of a closed off street. Excellent all around. We also sat with a German gentleman because there was no space. His name was Benjamin and at first Keith did not want to sit with him and Jaime did. As dinner wore on, Jaime was ready for him to leave and Keith had a good time talking with him.
Early the next morning, we headed to the airport to fly to Guayaquil, Ecuador in the hopes of catching a bus to Peru.Read more