I’ve just finished the first part of my nine weeks South American adventure. A wonderful start with some fanatic places and relaxing days on the M/V Santa Cruz, on an expedition in the Galapagos.
Day one, arriving in Galapagos.
We flew from Quito to Baltra where we were met by our guides, taken by bus to the harbour and taken by Zodiacs out to the waiting ship. The first of many to and from shores in the zodiacs.
After a short introduction we set sails for Cerro Dragon on the north side of Santa Cruz island. Here we did our first dry landing, meaning we walked directly from the zodiacs and onto dry land.
Cerro Dragon gave us a hint if what was to come, we saw our first sea iguanas, and a few land iguanas, along some if the native birds.
We were back at the ship just before sunset, and I got a few nice shots from the upper deck.
Before diner we had a briefing on what was to be day two.
Day two, hiking and snorkelling on James island (Isla Santiago)
I woke at six and the general wake up was at 6:30, before breakfast we went and hour snorkelling gear, and soon after breakfast we went out. Everybody was divided into groups that got a guide.
First stop of the day was Bartolome island where we went along the cost in the boats and saw sea lions, blue footed boobies and a few penguins. And of course sea iguanas.
Later we made a dry landing in the island and walked up to the highest point were we got a god view of the whole island. This is a very dry island, and parts of it looks like it could be on the moon.
The last part of the morning was spent snorkelling from the beach. It was nice to swim around and look for fish and other sea life, someone got to see a shark but not me. I wasn’t to impressed with the snorkelling, I guess I remember snorkelling the great barrier reef to well.
When we came back to the ship she hoisted anchor and we started of toward James bay.
On the way I got to see a glimpse of a dolphin, and we saw a lot of manta rays jumping out of the sea. Didn’t know rays did that but apparently it’s part of the mating ritual of the manta rays.
When we arrived we went snorkelling again, the water here was a bit colder and the water a bit muddier so I didn’t go in for long. The only thing I got to see was a sea lion playing in the water, but other people saw sea turtles and sharks as well.
After diner I went on to the upper deck and we had a look at the stars, before going early to bed.
Day three, Rabida and north Seymour.
We started out day three by going to the red beaches of Rabida island. On the way on to the beach we saw a turtle on the beach just finishing laying eggs, so before we went on the intended walk we went up the beach to have a look. As we a arrived the turtle just started making it’s way back to the sea.
Then we did our walk in the bush looking for more birds.
When we came back to the beach we had three options; snorkelling of the beach, deep water snorkelling or a ride in the glass bottom boat.
I elected to do the fourth option, staying on the beach.
It’s a bit special to lay on the beach, just a few meters from resting sea lions.
when we came back to the ship we got under way to North Seymour while we had lunch. Ramiro also did a interesting lecture on Darwins life.
On North Seymour there is a lot of nesting frigate birds and blue footed boobies and we got really close to some of them. A blue footed bobbie was feeding her chick right on the path we were walking. And we came across a land iguana feeding along the path.
Back at the boat we got a sunset drink and a preview of some out the pictures the guides had taken. Later that night somebody was lucky enough to spot a shark circling in the lights from there boat.
Day four, Santa Cruz island.
This was our last while day of the expedition and we spent all day on the island. There were a few options that day. In the morning we went to the highlands to look for giant land turtles, have a look inside a lava tube and had a look at two sink-holes.
and we could choose to ride a bike to the turtles and the lava tubes. Those of us that did the bike option started of first from the ship. Then we did a short bus ride and then got on the bikes. The bike ride was mostly downhill on a dusty dirt road. But we got to stop a few times and had a look at the turtles.
There was a lot of turtles to be seen that day, and non of them seemed to notice us at all.
After a little break we got on the bikes again and went to have a look on the lava tubes. At the tubes I forgot to bring my glasses so I did the walk into the tunnels wearing my sunglasses. The tunnel was well lit, so it wasn’t to hard.
We left the bikes at the lava tubes and continued by bus to look at the sink holes. There we had a short walk along the edge off the holes and the guides explained how they were formed.
This day was the first day that we didn’t eat lunch on the ship, instead were had a barbecue at a restaurant up in the highlands. This place had a great view all the way to the sea.
After lunch there were three option; a power walk in the mountains, a walk to a beach where we could do some kayaking or a visit to the Charles Darwin centre.
I did the first option which was a 35 minutes brisk walk to the beach and then a 15 minutes walk along a beautiful beach to where we could go kayaking.
It was two people in each kayak and we were free to explore the mangroves along the shore.
Then we walked back the same way we came and went on to our last diner in the M/V Santa Cruz.
Day five, leaving Galapagos.
Every expedition had to come to an end, and this was it.
After breakfast we went on to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, there we did a short visit to the San Cristobal Interpretation centre which is a centre made to teach school kids about the value of preserving Galapagos, and a bit of the history of settlement on the Galapagos. I learned that even Norwegians have tried to colonise one if the islands, with no much luck.
Then we had some time to roam the small city centre before heading to the airport and back up to Quito.
The adventures goes on and from Quito we travelled to Otavalo, first stop over on the way to Rio