A Travellerspoint blog

South Plaza & North Seymour

Day 8 - North Seymour and South Plaza
Today we stared with a shorter walk (only 2 hours long).  The only new thing we saw were magnificent frigates land iguanas.  Next we went snorkeling and saw a hammerhead shark, a white tip shark, a number of longnose cornfish and some other new fish.  This was one of the better snorkeling days.  The rest of the day we just hung out and enjoyed our last day on the boat.  There was an afternoon walk and a tour of the galley, bridge and engine room, but we decided to hang back.  Tomorrow we head back to Quito and then on Sunday we make our way home.

It has been a good trip.  I definitely liked Peru and Machu Picchu.  Everything was great with that part of the trip.  Galapagos was also very interesting, but felt more like taking a graduate class.  I loved the boat and the crew was great and we both enjoyed snorkeling every day.  I would definitely go on a trip on a small boat (Paul was looking at Viking river cruises in France), but I don't think I would do a big cruise ship.  The hikes were also good, I just wished our guide looked out a little more for the individuals that had a difficult time walking.  There were several times he abandoned some of the less agile walkers and Troy, I or a couple others would hang back to help them.

Posted by dtbradley 07.05.2011 13:39 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Santiago, Bartolome & Tower

Day 6 - Santiago & Bartolome

Today we started out on Santiago island.  At first I was not sure if I was going to go but was glad I did as the tide pools were pretty cool.  Basically it was a number of lava flows tubes that captured fish, had a lot of crabs and iguanas every where.  We also saw a lava heron and fur seals laying in the rocks by the tide pools.  This was called the fur seal grotto.  Afterward we had a lecture on geography.  We then went upstairs to see Buccaneer's cove as we moved to Bartolome.

Snorkeling today was at Pinnacle rock by Bartolome.  It was pretty murky so we didn't see much until near the end of the snorkel.  Then we saw a penguin resting on a ledge and a puffer fish.  After snorkeling we walked up to the summit of Punta Egret.  Even though it was hazy you could see many of the surrounding islands.  We even had a hawk hovering over us for a while.  It was pretty cool.

Day 7 - Tower island

Holy birds!  When we dropped anchor all you saw were birds above the island.  Before breakfast we saw two white tip sharks swimming around the boat.  After breakfast we headed over to Prince Phillip's steps and took a walk and saw two different red footed boobies (brown and white), Nazca boobies and their eggs or chicks (one which had just hatched and didn't have any feathers), lots of great frigatebirds, storm petrels and short eared owls.  Afterward we snorkeled, the new fish we saw today were:  four-eyed blenny, moorish idol, and blue chin parrot fish (actually we have seen him the last couple days).  

The rest of the day we skipped the activities.  There was a ponga ride where they saw more great frigates and storm petrels and then took a walk on the beach to see even more great frigates.

Posted by dtbradley 07.05.2011 13:34 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Floreanna, Fernandina & Isabela

Day 4 - Floreana

Today we had 4 stops on the island of Floreana.  The first was on Punta Cormorant beach were we walked to a flamingo lagoon and saw 4 flamingos up close.  Next we walked to a wonderful white sand beach where we were suppose to see sting rays.  I didn't see any, but a couple people did.  Our next stop was to Devil's crown to snorkel.  The fish were much better here and I took a lot of pictures.  I even got some pictures of the sea lion swimming underneath me.  Fish we saw include:  dolphinfish, king angelfish, rainbow wrasse, bump head parrotfish, bicolor parrotfish, razor surgeonfish, galapagos seabream, giant damselfish, and black triggerfish.  Stop three was to post office bay which was used by whalers, sealers and private yachts since 1793 to send mail.

Stop four was at black beach, where we got in a truck and drove up the mountain.  I was thinking we were going to the "house" of Margaret Wittmer, which we did, but it was the cave she lived in when she first came to the island vs the house she lived in during her later years.  Along the route we heard some noise and the guide took us off path to see some mating turtles (although the male was confused as he was humping the female's head).  When the guide started back, he didn't wait for anyone and just charged forward through all sorts of rocks and brush.  I kept up with him so as not to lose the path and would stop to make sure the rest of the group knew the way.  Seemed weird that the guide wasn't doing this as the walk was advertised as easy and there were a couple that were having a difficult time walking.  As we went up to the cave, the guide was again not helpful to those that needed some guidance on easier paths to take.

Dinner was a bar-b-q on the upper deck which was very good.

Day 5 - Fernandina & Isabela

Today's trip was to the islands of Fernandina and Isabela.  The morning walk was 2 1/2 hours on lava to see the large flightless cormorants and potentially penguins.  We choose to stay back because we were going to see the same things in the afternoon, but without the big hot walk with no shade.  On our relaxing morning on the boat we saw plenty of sea turtles, some sea lions and plenty of birds.  Before lunch we had a discussion / lesson on oceanography, which was interesting.

After lunch the boat headed over to Isabela to snorkel and then take a zodiac ride.  The snorkeling was cold and I got a little nervous about going into the cave so I skipped it, but later found out that they saw stingrays as they were coming out so I was a little bummed I didn't go in the cave.  When I first jumped into the water though, I did see penguins so that was cool!  Troy and I headed over to a different part of the snorkeling area and saw sea turtles with fish eating the algae off of them which was also pretty cool. The panga ride covered the same area we snorkeled and this time we saw more sea lions and a fur seal.  We also got to see the nesting site of the flightless cormorant and more penguins swimming.  Back on the boat and before dinner we watched the sunset and toasted our first crossing of the equator (we have 4 crossings in total). 

Posted by dtbradley 07.05.2011 13:30 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Galapagos Island

We spent 1 night at the Royal Palm hotel and 7 nights on a wonderful boat (the Integrity) here is a synopsis of the trip.

Day 1
Once we got to Galapagos and our hotel, we had lunch.  The food is definitely better in Peru than Ecuador.  We also miss our guide in Peru.  After 10 minutes at lunch, our new guide was in to politics and elections.  In 4 days with Katerina we never talked politics. In hind site Equidor is a very different country and so are politics.

After lunch we headed out to see some turtles.  Nothing very interesting just walking through mud to get to see two large turtles.  Our focus was getting back to the hotel so we could swim.  When we arrived in Galapagos, it was around 88 degrees.  At 5 pm for our swim, I would guess it was around 75 degrees and cloudy an it was nice to take a dip in the pool.  Had fish again for dinner.  It was a little better than lunch, but still no comparison to Peru.

Day 2 - Charles Darwin Station & the boat

Today we went to the Charles Darwin station to see turtles and iguana's before we headed out to the boat.  We left the hotel around 9 am and headed to some lava tubes first.  From there we went to the Darwin station.  I think I expected more.  I thought we would see buildings where they were doing studies and there would be more scientists doing studies, but we did not see any "workers".  We did see a lot of turtles and some land iguanas, which was pretty cool.  Before we got into the Darwin station we saw marine iguanas just hanging out.  

Afterwards we headed off to lunch where we saw our first blue footed boobie. We also saw a pelican hanging out on the roof of the restaurant.  And then it was off to the boat which is very nice.  The rooms are a pretty good size and roomy and our guide seems pretty good.  

Day 3 - Espanola 

Didn't sleep that well last night.  Started with the lights flickering when we turned them off.  Troy took the light bulbs out of the one over our bed so we could sleep.  Fell asleep after that, but then when we set sail we woke up again as the rocking went from side to side to back and forth. Took a Dramamine and all was well.

After breakfast, we headed out to a beach on Espanola.  There we saw tons of sea lions.  A Galapagos Mocking bird came right up to us.  He had no fear and I think he was more curious of us than we were of him.  We also saw a Galapagos Hawk, iguanas and other birds.

After the beach we went kayaking and snorkeling.  It wasn't a big kayak trip, but we did see the blue footed booby, a sea lion cub and some other birds.  There wern't too many fish as we were in a calmer place getting a feel for snorkeling.  Hopefully tomorrow will have beter snorkeling.

In the afternoon, we went to a different part of Espanola and hiked through some boulders.  Not as difficult a hike as Machu Picchu, but you did need to be careful where you walked.  We saw more sea lions and a lot of birds including:  Nazca bobbies, blue footed boobies, swallowtail gulls, oystercatchers, Galapagos doves, Galapagos hawks, marine iguanas, lava lizards and albatross.  The albatross come back to the island between mid to late April and when they land they trip over themselves.  When they find their partner (they stay with the same partner their whole life) they do a beautiful dance.

Posted by dtbradley 07.05.2011 13:20 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Travel Day

Quito

rain 17 °C

Thursday was a travel day for us.  We got up at 6:30 am to go to the Cuzco airport and then hung out for 3 hours at the Lima airport, before our flight to Quito, Equador.  So far not to impressed with Equidor.  The flight was a litle bit of a roller coaster due to a big storm and then there was so much traffic to get to our hotel.  Nothing charming to see.

We decided not to venture out for diner and went for sushi.  Our waiter didn't speak much English and didn't get the serving right.  We noticed that our sushi was ready before we got our first course.  We then saw two girls talking to the sushi maker touch our food.  We had a little bit of a scene as we called them out on touching our food and the waiter needing to go back and have our food remade.

Friday we head out early to Galapagos Islands.  We have been having issues with WiFi connection so hopefully I can post tomorrow, but once we get on the boat on Saturday I won't be able to post anything until we get home. 

Posted by dtbradley 03:48 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

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