We’ve been in Ecuador for two weeks, and today is the first reliable wifi connection I’ve located. I know, I sound like I’m whining, but technology is an important aspect of my life. I have to make sure my pension check arrived!
My plan of chronological posts has fallen by the wayside, alas. So I’m going to post snippets of narration, with lots of pictures, because – let’s face it, who wants to hear me ramble on when you can see baby sea lions and blue-footed boobies?
Saturday, August 4, 2018
Thus far the trip has been wonderful – exciting, surprising, challenging. The one less than wonderful aspect has been the internet connection, or lack thereof. Yes, let’s say it together: Americans are so spoiled! It’s true, I acknowledge it, and after two days of fruitless attempts at uploading some great photos to illustrate my blog, I put away the laptop. Even now, I’m not writing online. In fact, I’m writing on board a yacht. (Don’t I just love saying that!) I have the cabin door propped open to let in the sea breeze, and I’ve got a beautiful view of The Petrel. I know that’s the name of it because it’s taunting me with its password-protected wifi signal. Beautiful, but cruel.
The yacht Golondrina is a pretty little ship – just ask any of the crew members, and they’ll tell you it’s the prettiest ship in the bunch. There are sixteen guests on board, plus 4 or 5 crew members. I can’t be sure because they never sit still. When we were making our reservations for this trip a year ago, we decided that if we were going to do it, we were going to do it up. So we booked a cabin on the upper level, which was more expensive, but infinitely more pleasant than the below deck accommodations near the engine. Besides, we’re old and experienced. We know when to go for it!
The cabin is a miniature model of efficiency. There are, of course, bunk beds, and this is yet another occasion when my lack of height has worked to my advantage. Not only did Craig realize that the top bunk would be an impossibility for me to reach, but as I type I am sitting comfortably on the bottom bunk, and I am not bumping my head on the frame above.
Beyond the bunk beds, there’s not much else to Cabin 7. There is a single piece of furniture: three drawers, a cabinet, and two drop-leaf storage spots, all stuffed into the space between the foot of the beds and the door. There is also a bathroom which makes cruise ship bathrooms look positively enormous by comparison. Picture an airplane bathroom with a shower, and you’ve got the idea.
But we didn’t come to the Galapagos Islands for the accommodations. Instead of giving you a verbal description of each of the eight islands we visit, how about I just show you some of the pictures? Good idea.
Here is a frigate bird, flying above our boat. They like to hop on board, in the overhead cables, and take a rest.
Lovely fellow, isn’t he? This is a land iguana. The critters found on this island are shades of yellow; on another island, accessible only by helicopter, they are pink.
As we approached the tortoises, I initially thought they were rocks. Until they moved. Very slowly.
To give you an idea of the size of the tortoise, Craig is about 8 feet away.
Here is a brand new baby sea lion. Not sure if he has a problem with his eye, or if he is simply so new that he can’t yet see properly. The mama sea lion parks her little one in a safe cove and then goes off fishing for the day, confident that he will not stray while she is gone. Sea lion day care, without the attendants.
I was nowhere near this guy when I took this pic – I have a really good telephoto. They’re not vicious, just off-putting in appearance. But I wasn’t willing to push my luck.
The little red crabs that scuttle about the islands are called Sally Lightfoot crabs. Great name, isn’t it?
He looks like he has such stories to tell.
One day we got off the boat to visit the Charles Darwin Research Center – fascinating! – and had a chance to walk around a little town. We found these two hanging around the fish market, waiting for handouts.
Meet Lonesome George. He was the last of his species of Galapagos Tortoises. Scientists scoured all 13 of the islands to find him a mate, but none could be discovered. He died a few years ago, and his species died along with him. His remains were sent to the National Museum of History in New York to be preserved, and he is now back on his island, under glass. RIP, George.
Depending upon the island, the beaches were white sand, black sand, red sand, lava rock, or shells. But don’t even think about pocketing one! Fines are very steep for tampering with any aspect of life on the islands.
Let’s close for today with one last pretty picture. The boat to the right is the Fragata, to which we transferred when our original boat needed some maintenance. A definite upgrade!
Tomorrow we’ll head to the Mindo cloud forest for some amazing sightings of birds. Thanks for reading!