Galapagos Islands

FRIDAY
Wake up call was at 4:15am. Ugh.

The group stood outside of the hotel’s restaurant at 5:00am while the staff worked furiously to open the doors. They couldn’t find the keys so they worked on dismantling the lock. Fortunately we all ended up well fed before our ride to the airport.

Our flight is in 2 parts. From Quito to Yillquil and then on to the Galapagos!

We meet our naturalist Vivian and Miguel is our bus driver. Cathi and Sabina are the other two guides with Cathi seeming to be the one in charge.

Lunch was a VERY healthy meal at Parque Tanchi, consisting mainly of fruits and veggies with the meat (chicken or tuna) as a small side dish. From here we are taken by an old bus to a private property where wild Galapagos tortoises roam. They are huge animals and we are told that they happen to be here just now because of the food sorce. Soon they will migrate towards the beaches to mate.

Afterward we head to the only town o
n the Galapagos archipelago and wait for our transports to the ship, Isabela II.

Our transfer to the ship is my pangos, large inflatable boats with an outboard motor. We sit on the gunwales with out gear stowed on the deck at our feet. We are told to use the sailor’s grip (clasping forearms) whenever we are assisted into and out if the boats.

Dinners aboard are all well presented and very healthy. And yet nobody goes hungry.

My cold is worse,  I take a dramamine pill for its drowsiness effect and we go to bed at 9:30pm.

SATURDAY
Woke with a fever in the middle if the night. Got some sleep, but not nearly enough.

Our first outting is a tour on the pangos around the area. We see iguanas, sea lions, Friggates and Blue Footed Boobies. Then we do a wet landing on a Sandy beach and we go to the “Post Office”. This is a barrel which has a few hundred post cards addressed to places all over the world. The idea is that if you can take a few and hand-deliver them, then you take those postcards with you back home and attempt to deliver them. We found 2 we think we can deliver. Then you leave your post cards (if you want) for someone to find and deliver to you.

After the post office we all donned our snorkeling gear and walked into the somewhat chilly waters. Our highlights were seeing 6 huge Green Pacific Turtles and a sea lion that swam near us.

Back to the ship for a rest and some lunch then back out for more snorkeling. While I went out on the pangos, I decided at the last minute not to go into the water – I felt too weak and ill. I helped keep an eye on the snorkelers. We could not go where we were supposed to go because of the rough seas. Alan said it was pretty rough where they dropped in anyway, and the only good part was the last 10 minutes when sea lions played on the water around them.

The third outting was a one+ mile hike on the island. I decided to stay in and take care of myself instead. Alan got some nice photos of flamingos, Boobies and a lizard.

SUNDAY
Today started off with a short 1/2 mile hike over large rocks. It was tricky going but worth it. We saw several sea lion pups, iguanas, lava lizards, Blue Footed Boobies, Nasca Boobies, some albatross, herons and Frigates. We saw a pair of Blue Footed Boobies with a chicken not even four feet away from us about and we got to see the chick feed. Fascinating.

I skipped the next outting in favor of my health. Alan went and got to play with more sea lions.

MONDAY
Alan went on a climbing hike and I went on a panga sightseeing ride. He came out better than me insofar as pictures. He got some very good ones of Red Footed Boobies.

Now Alan is sick, while I am starting to feel a bit better.

I have conjunctivitis. We have to cancel the rest of the trip. I am so very, very unhappy about this sour turn if events. Alan has slept the day away – he is that sick.

Ship’s  doctor gave me antibiotic eye drops. Hopefully this has been cUght in time.

At dinner I feel like a leper. I wear sunglasses so nobody has to see how gross this is.

Alan sends Connie Lemon an email and the ship’s manager offers to help us get a flight home.

TUESDAY
The manager tells us that we are better off booking our own flight. Connie calls and tells us to contact the trip insurance company.  Looks like we are on our own.