Hi all - I hope you are well and surviving the strong winds I keep hearing about!
Got back from the Galapagus yesterday and had an awesome time - it was a lot more relaxing than the Inca trail for sure!
On Wednesday we flew from Quito to the Galapagus. We arrived at about midday and were picked up and driven through Baltra - the island that the airport was on. I was surprised at how desolate and small the vegetation was. Nothing much higher than the grass untill be went up to higher ground. We had to get a ferry across the island ans saw our first sea lions and Pelicans. We arrived at the south of the island and caught anopther ferry to our boat the G1 Pelicano! There are 16 of us and 7 crew - not much room for anyone else but the boat was very well kept and the crew were very friendly dispite the language barrier. We had lunch and all took a load of sickness pills! Its fairly rcky and we were still in the harbour! After lunch we took the dingys back to the main land and went to a tortiose breeding centre. We saw a lot of giant land tortioses including Lonesome George who is the last tortoise of his kind that they are trying to breed with other similar breeds to no availe so far! We saw some land iguanas and a lot of bird life and little lizards everywhere. On our way back into town we saw some marine iguanas sunbathing. I love that lizards are everywhere! Back on board we were greated with cocktails and dinner - the food is amazing! Every one had an early night and we set sail during the night - I was on the top buck and after holding on for dear life for a while perfected a position where I cuoldn´t roll out!
By morning on Thursday we had docked by Floreana Island and after breakfast headed to shore where we visited a "post box". It used to be used by pirates and sailors where they put mail and if some one came by who was going that way they would take it and hand deliver it. I hadn´t had this explained to me before we landed so I didn´t laeve anything but I picked up 2 post cards - one for sidmouth would you belive! We then explored a lava tunnel - unfortunatley out of the 7 of us that went dwn only 2 torces worked - the others batteries started to fade mine being one of them so it was a little tricky but fun. After exploring the beach, watching crabs and getting eaten by flies we headed back to the boat to collect some snorkle gear. We sailed around the coast and were dropped off at the bottom of a strong current which took us back to the boat. One couple got out almost as soon as we got in. Mary got a bit freaked out as she hadn´t snorkled before so they went back to the dingy but as she was getting in Norman got stung by a jelly fish which practically paralised him for an hour - I´m glad I was oblivious at the time as that would have been it for me at the time. Very scary for them both I imagin. We had a wicked time though. The coral wasn´t spectacular but the fish were lovely - not the small tropical ones but massive ones like parrot fish and "doreys!". As we snorkeld around the rocky edge we were suddenly surrounded by sea lionjs all diving in off the rocks to play. At first it was a little unnerving but after a while we all relaxed and they came so close you had to be carful not to kick them with the flippers - at one point one was biting the end of our guide flipper! it was an awesome experience. Back on board we sunbathed on the roof as we sailed to the otherside of the island. After lunch we went back on land and went to a lagoon where we saw Flamingos then on the other side of the coast we saw a lot of sea birds diving and catching fish, string rays in the surf and a little black tipped shark. On the beach there were loads of sea turtles nest - we think they were near hatching because the frigate birds were trying to attack the sand - naughty birds! It was absolutely beautiful though. Paradise! We snorkled again off that beach in the hope of finding turtles but we didn´t. I did find an octopus and a string ray though which was cool. After dinner we were shown a film about the Galapagus but we´d strated heading for open water and no one could stomach it! I managed but had to take a few pills and everyone was in bed by 8.00! Justin told me to imagin I was swinging in a hamock and it really worked! In the morning I was the only one who had slept!!
On friday we went to Espanola where we saw a lot of sea lions and marine iguanas. They were everywhere! You were literally tripping over them! As we walked in land we saw a lot of albatros nesting, nasak boobies and blue footed boobies doing there mating dance! The male shows his blue feet to the girl and gives her loads of twigs and stones while she ignores him and if he´s really unlikely she poos on his head! Maybe this is where I´m going wrong!! After lucnch we moved around to another bay on the island and headed to the beach where there were loads of sea lions chilling out enjoying the sun. You had to pick your way through them to walk along the beach! A few uf us went snorkling again as we were "promised" sea turtles! We headed out to a rock just off shore and one of the boys spotted a white tipped shark sleeping in a cave so he had to poke at it and wake it up! It came shooting out followed by 4 more!!! Needless to say I had a littlwe panic! >They were circling us fr a bit then went back down to sleep! If I(´d known I´d be swimming with sharks there would be no way you´d get me in the water! But it was Awesome!!! We saw some massive egale rays and sting rays and loads of sea cucumbas but still no turtles! After dinner everyone went to bed except me, justin, tom, gordn and george so we went up n the roof and lay down star gazing as we sailed to our next point. At abut 9.00 a massive orange full moon came out of the ocean - it was beautiful.
Saturday we went to Santa Fe where we met some very grumpy sea lions that kept chasing us - they´re a bit intimidating you know! We also saw a few land iguanas which were beautiful. We then snorkled around the bay and finally - sea turtles!! 3 of them - they are so awesome - they way they glide through the water is so elegant! It was our last oppertunity to snorkle - I was so happy my mask kept leaking coz I couldn´t stop smiling!! We had lunch as we moved to Plaza´s - not sure about eating and sailing but I´m the only one not taking sickness pills anymore! We went on land which had very strange vegetation - all very low orange bushes and stumpy cactus trees. Everywhere you looked though the ground was moving with land iguanas - they were everywhere and so beautiful - one wanted to come home with me but I told him it couldn´t! He was sad! Saturday night we thank´d the crew, had a few cocktails and played cards for a bit before it was just me and Tom again - it has become a regular theme - not exactly a booze cruise! LOL! Had an awesome time here though. Saw so much, lizards were sat on other lizards! And so many birds everywhere. Nothing is scared of humans and there is so much of everything you´d be a plonker to miss it! It wasn´t what I was expecting as it feels so managed by humans and I didn´t get to see wild tortoises ( the guide said I hadn´t paid enough t visit the islands they were on! Cheek!!) but its definatley a paradise not worth missing!
Sunday we were up early to visit our last island - North Seymore. We saw the sunrise as we walked around looking at the frigate birds who when trying to attract females they puff up their red pouches on the necks to the size of a foot ball - its very weird to see. Just before getting back on the boat we had a group picture taken with the cutest sea lion pup I´ve ever seen - I´m not convinced it wasn´t placed there but it was soooooooooooooo gorgeous!! We sailed back to Balta where we were driven t the airport and flown back to Quito. It was pouring with rain here - boo!!! We arranged to meet for dinner then had goodbye drinks in one of the boys room. They don´t serve alchohol here after 4.00pm on a sunday so we had to smuggle! It was a lovely night and I was very sad to say good bye to the boys. The father son couples really took me in and I felt part of their family! Gordon is desperalety trying to convince me I need to go to Canada - I´d been convinced of that by people on my Africa trip - so thats where the next trip will take me - sorry mum - yes I´ll be off again!
Got a week left in Ecuador. I´m moving to my hostel today and after s afew days exploring Quito I´m planning on heading t a thermal town for a couple of days. You´ll be pleased to hear the weather is better again today but as I sit here I´m rocking to and fro like I´m still on the boat and completely out of breath as I´m back at altitude! Very odd feeling! Still lots to be done and will update before I Fly if the Icelandic Volcano will let me!
R x x