A Travellerspoint blog

San Cristobal Island

semi-overcast 25 °C

This morning we found ourselves at Punta Pitt, after breakfast we boarded the panga's for a ride along the cliffs to see some Red Footed Boobies. We did get to see some but not their feet as they nested higher up in the cliffs. After our tour of the cliffs we were taken to the beach for some free time.

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After the beach and back on board the boat, we started to sail to Kicker Rock for a snorkel. During the sail we saw a pod of Orca's, with a baby. The male orca's have a larger dorsal fin than the female's, researchers can tell the orca's apart from the marks in the dorsal fin.

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Everyone was very excited and we got some great pictures as they passed by the boat. Soon we were at Kicker Rock and it was time for a snorkel.

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Once again the marine life was great, but not alot of sunshine so the under water pictures are dark and hard to see what was in the picture. A few of us stayed on the boat during the snorkel and while chatting on the deck, spotted a whale breaching in the distance. Captian Washington saw it to, he fired up the engines and began to take us over to see the whale. Which was identified as a Sperm Whale, we didn't get very close before he disappeared.

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As this was our last night on board the boat, the crew prepared a goodbye cocktail and had a drink with all the guest's. We had an excellent dinner, once again served by our chef and spent the evening packing up and chatting with all our fellow passengers.

Posted by MRCL72 11:21 Archived in Ecuador Comments (2)

Espanola Island

sunny 25 °C

After another rough night sailing to Espanola Island, Miguel and I decided to use our motion sickness patches. Since we are going around the most easterly islands we are in more open ocean, making things a bit rougher than we have been used to. Today was an early morning breakfast at 6 am, then into the panga for our visit to Punta Suarez.

This was one of the longer and more difficult walks we did. The terrain was very rocky, but worth it as this area of the island is where the waved Albatross nest.

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We did get to see one try to take off, because of their size they need lots of runway. Its quite amusing to see them run stumbling through the rocks with wings spread. Unfortunately he didn't get up enough speed and had to give up. They also will walk to the end of the cliff and launch themselves into the wind to take flight.

Many birds share this island including the Blue Footed Booby, Nazca Booby, finches, mockingbirds, doves and many others.

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The island wouldn't be complete without its population of sea lions and iguana's.

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Back on Tip Top III, we were all invited up to see the bridge. All the navigation equipment the crew use is quite impressive.

During lunch we cruised to Gardner Bay for a snorkel, Miguel and I decided to sit this one out. The rest headed out for a snorkel and some beach time. We were told the water was cold and the clouds came in, so everyone returned to the boat for a quiet relaxing afternoon.

Posted by MRCL72 07:45 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Christmas Day & Floreana Island

semi-overcast 25 °C

Christmas day started with breakfast and an early morning panga ride, but when we spotted some turtle tracks on the beach it quickly turned into a beach landing. A female turtle was resting after having laid her eggs in the sand.

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We boarded the panga's and headed to Post Office Bay. The wooden barrel of post office bay was put there in the 18th century by a group of whalers. From that time, tourists and seamen have used it as a post office. Visitors sift through the piles of postcards and letters deposited inside the barrel. If they find one they can deliver personally to its destination, they take it with them. We found one that is not far from our house in Calgary that we will deliver when we get home. There was also a geo cache here that we found.

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A little farther up the path was a large lava tube. Steps and a rope have been installed to allow visitors to go down into its depths. The narrow mouth opened into a very large cavern with water at the end. After our little trip down under, we headed back to the beach for some free time. Our crew came on land and started a soccer game with the crew of another boat anchored in the bay. So everyone got to have sometime off the boat.

Eventually it was time to head back onboard for lunch. Upon returning to the boat we found this little one having a snooze of the back of the boat.

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After lunch the Beakhouse family, Miguel and myself headed up to the sun deck to open presents. We were each given a book called Floreana by Margret Wittmer. Rolf Wittmer was her son and the founder of Rolf Wittmer Tours. The first person to offer boat tours of the Galapagos Islands.

Our naturalist guide Richard, gave us each a large bar of Ecuadorean chocolate. Which I can tell you is very good. We finished the gift exchange with our little party, then it was time to get changed into our wet suits and go for a snorkel around the Devil's Crown.

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As soon as we hit the water, the abundance of sea life was amazing. This was a drift snorkel, nothing to do but breathe and float along with the current. We were able to go around the crown a second time if we wanted, so a few of us decided to go again and it was totally worth it. On our second trip around the crown, a very friendly sea lion decided to follow along with us. We also saw rays, sharks and thousands of fish.

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Our guide asked the four of us who did the second snorkel if we wanted to do a third snorkel off the other side of the crown. Of course we all said yes, it was the fastest drift I have ever done, we dropped into the water with literally thousands of fish, sharks and rays. Star fish littered the ocean floor, it was one of the best christmas gifts I have received.

Back on board the boat it was time to dry off and change and get ready for a panga ride and hike out to Punta Cormrant. Our final excursion for the day.

Once back on board the boat, with everyone showered and ready for dinner, the crew served us a christmas cocktail. Ring ring it was time for our christmas dinner, which was turkey. Carved and served to us by our chef in his full whites. After dinner everyone was ready for bed, it was a great christmas day and our crew work very hard to make it special for us.

Posted by MRCL72 14:18 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Black Turtle Cove & Dragon Hill

semi-overcast 25 °C

This morning we needed to fuel up so breakfast was a little later and the morning quite relaxed. Although we were asked to stay inside the boat during the refuel.

Our day was spent on the north side of Santa Cruz Island. We boarded the panga and had a tour of Black Turtle Cove, which is a mangrove, very popular with sea turtles. We also saw some white tipped sharks resting on the bottom.

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We spend a couple hours travelling around the mangroves which Luis our panga drive did expertly. We headed back to the boat for a siesta, lunch and a quick sail to Dragon Hill.

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At Cerro Dragon we were treated to some....FLAMINGO'S!!! Five of them to be exact, feeding around a brackish lagoon. Flamingo's get there color from the blood of the little shrimp that they eat. This was much more exciting than the pink speck we saw at Bainsbridge Roccas.

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We were all very excited to see 1% of the flamingo population in the Galapagos. Our naturalist guide Richard, did a great job of explaining everything to us. He was able to answer all our questions and manage our time on the various activities expertly.

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Iguana's spend most of there day sunning themselves on the rocks in order to keep warm during the night. Back on board we had another excellent dinner, but a very rough ride to Floreana Island. This was the first night Miguel and I took gravel. Our trip was taking us into more open ocean, we were back on the roller coaster ride.

Tomorrow is christmas, its practically here.

Posted by MRCL72 08:18 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Sombrero Chino & Rabida Island

semi-overcast 25 °C

This morning we found ourselves anchored at Sombrero Chino or Chinese Hat, named for the shape of the island.

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After breakfast we boarded the panga's and headed for the island, on the way we saw a lone penguin in the water.

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During our walk on Sombrero Chino we saw many sea lions, iguana's and some lava tube formations. Most of the islands in the Galapagos have been created by volcano activity, so they all have a telltale cone shape. A couple however such as Santa Fe island were created by tectonic activity. The oldest islands are the easterly islands, and the western Galapagos are the newest islands.

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After our visit to Sombrero Chino, we headed back to the boat to get ready for a snorkel trip, when we saw a couple more penguins. During our snorkel we saw a few more White Tipped Sharks, and a Spotted Eagle Ray and lots of Yellow Tail Surgeon Fish.

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Back on board, ring ring, it was time for lunch.

During our cruise to Rabida Island we sailed by Bainsbridge Roccas. Which had a large brackish crater lake in the middle of it, this is suppose to be a good place to spot Flamingo's. In the middle of the crater lake was a lonely little pink spot, barely visible. Luckily we would come across some flamingos later in our travels. Currently there are approx 500 flamingo's left in the Galapagos Islands.

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We continued sailing and had chance to relax on the sun deck, nap, read and chat with the other passengers.

Upon our arrival at Rabida, we boarded the panga's and headed for the red sand beach.

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Rabida has a salt water lagoon which is a good place to see flamingo's, but there were none here. We did get some see a squadron of pelican's on Rabida.

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After our stay on Rabida we headed back to the boat for some free time before dinner.

Posted by MRCL72 07:18 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

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