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Journal Entries for 2009-04 Galapagos Islands
OVERALL SUMMARY: We flew to Quito, Ecuador on March 27th to spend a week using our RCI timeshare. We rested and started adjusting to the 9,000 ft altitude the first day.

(Journal #3 - Journal #10) The second day we started our trip with a tour of Quito, visiting the Equator and Historic Old Town. The next day we took care of business with Happy Gringo, the tour agency that set up the boat tours, and went back to Old Town on our own. The next two days we took an Otavalo tour and Cotopaxi tour. We left Quito after six days, a day early (the RCI timeshare was for a week), because of the boat tour schedule.

We flew to Baltra on Thursday, April 2nd and were picked up by our tour guide, Victor. We were bussed to the Yate Floreana. We were assigned rooms, went snorkeling, had lunch, went for a "land visit" on North Seymour, had dinner and went to bed. Our routine for the next 2 weeks was to get up at 6:00 a.m., breakfast at 7:00 a.m., "land visit" at 8:00 a.m., snorkeling at 10:00 a.m. (sometimes), lunch at 12:00 p.m., land visit or snorkeling at 2:00 p.m., snorkeling or land visit at 4:00 p.m., dinner at 7:00 p.m. So, even though was ate three full meals a day, plus our snacks after snorkeling, we burned off most of what we ate.

(Journal #11 - Journal #28) On the South tour with the Yate Floreana, we visited North Seymour, Santa Cruz, Floreana, Espanola, San Cristobal, Santa Fe and South Plaza islands. We saw blue-footed boobies, marine and land iguanas, lava lizards, giant tortoises, sea lions, eagle rays and stingrays, masked boobies, waved albatross, frigate birds and giant tortoises in abundance!!!

(Journal #29 - Journal #45) On the North tour with the Yate Floreana, we visited Santa Cruz, Genovesa, east Santiago, Bartolome, Rabida, Isabela, Fernandina and west Santiago. We saw giant tortoises (again), masked boobies, red-footed boobies, frigate birds, penguins, sharks, marine and land iguanas, lava lizards, sea lions, eagle rays and stingrays and flightless cormorants!! The penguins were amazing. We didn't see them in the abundance that we saw many of the other animals, but we were able to actually swim with them!! As an added bonus, we actually saw the Fernandina Volcano erupting!!! We were close enough to see the red hot lava flowing into the ocean!!! (Journal #39)

It's hard to describe the feeling as we walked around these islands. It was like going back millions of years before mankind. The Galapagos wildlife is often described as tame. But, it's not that the animals are tame, it's that they just don't care that you're there. In a self-enclosed world that has existed for millennia with no major predators, human beings are still just another large, curious-looking thing, about as threatening as a tree. The feeling of looking at acres of wild animals that don't flee at your arrival--a place where you actually have to be careful not to step on anyone as you walk down the trail--is nothing short of amazing.

(Journal #46 - Journal #52) After two weeks on the Yate Floreana, we went from the airport on Baltra, across the canal to Santa Cruz and then 45 minutes to Puerto Ayora. We caught the water taxi to Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. We spent six nights there, resting, taking a tour to the Sierra Negra volcano (by horseback) and to Las Tuneles (by boat).

(Journal #53 - Journal #62) Then we took the water taxi back to Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. We spent four nights there, resting, walking to Tortuga Bay, taking a day boat tour to Floreana Island and a bay tour of Puerto Ayora.

(Journal #63 - Journal #69) Then we moved on to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island via another water taxi, for five nights. We rested, updated the web page, took a Highland tour and a snorkeling boat tour to Leon Dormido.

(Journal #70 - Journal #71) We left the Galapagos Islands from San Cristobal and flew to Quito. We stayed here three nights. The original plan was to rest up before the long flight home, but we now have new friends, Victor and his family. We spent time with them in Quito. Then we flew back to California---HOME AT LAST!!!

We had a stupendous trip!!! This trip met (and far exceeded) all of our expectations. Everything worked out really well (better even than planned) and there were NO bad things (except losing our underwater camera)!! One thing to keep in mind is the 22% tax on almost everything!!!

0001-Ecuador map.jpg

0095-C&N at Equator, Museo de Sitio Inti-Nan, Quito.jpg

0385a-Zodiac to Yate Floreana, Baltra.jpg

0436-Blue-footed boobie, N Seymour.jpg

0447-Frigate pair, N Seymour.jpg

0525-Lonesome (Solitary) George, Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz.jpg

1108-Penguins, Bartolome.jpg
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