Crazy Crew In Galapagos

Trip Start Jun 01, 2008
1
5
17
Trip End Jul 17, 2008


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Flag of Ecuador  , Galapagos Islands,
Monday, June 16, 2008

This was the day I was to meet the group whoīd be my travel companions to the Galapagos. But before that, I did one more excursion with Wet Blanket and the Unstoppable Talking Girl. We took a cable car up to a mountain that over looks the long, banana shaped Ecuador capital that is Quito. It was quite a view, although very cold. It felt as if you were wearing a crown of cold air and it was tightening it's grip.

We then said goodbye to the Unstoppable Talking Girl - I finally got a word in - goodbye. Then Wet Blanket and I went off to meet our new friends. The group consisted on 9 (yes 9!) Aussies, 1 American, 1 Kiwi, 2 Danes, 2 Anglo-Japanese girls and me. An interesting combination youīd think? Er, no not really. That evening we had a tour of the Old Town of Quito which I got some good pictures (see Baņos blog). After that we all went for a 'getting to know each other meal' where no one said anything. Well apart from one Aussie guy, who worked as a screw in the prisons of Australia. He told me that he'd had a lot of bad luck with women and had divorced two wives. I had only known him 5 minutes and couldn't even remember his name. Someone then told me they had been bullied as a kid and someone else that 'us Pommes drink warm beer' and so forth. Yes and most of you Australians are descended from criminals, but I try not to bring things up like that when I meet people for the first time. I felt like a non-responsive agony aunt and GB flag flyer at the same time.

The next day we were picked up at 7am for our flight to the Galapagos. When we arrived it was like planes, trains and automobiles. We took a plane (obviously), then a bus, then a boat, then a bus and then one more boat out to our ship - The Spondylus (I think). There I was introduced to my cabin mate who seemed like a nice enough, although a bit wet. We then set off for our first trip with our '20 years in the business' guide Billy. 20 years in the business I thought? He'll have loads to tell us. Like fuck he will! We went to a Giant Tortoise sanctuary, where we saw three Giant Tortoises. This was because Billy appeared to get lost in the woods alot. When we found the two tortoises in the mud, he went on for ages about Lonesome George - the last of his kind whose can't be bothered to have sex apart from with a cactus. I asked will we see Lonesome George. Billy said, 'That was this morning.' Oh, right.

We then headed back to our boat. Before we boarded Wet Blanket had a panic attack as she suffered from terrible motion sickness. I comforted her and said it would be fine. Then the Stereotype Aussie started telling her that the tables were moving all over the place on the boat the other night and people were sick everywhere. Wet Blanket nearly passed out. By the way, three people had been on the boat longer that the rest of us, including my cabin mate.

After our first meal on board, a few of us left for the shores of Santa Cruz. The Stereotype Aussie had a thing for the locals. She looked like a wrinkled old prune and her feet stunk. Each local/crew member she approached looked like a rabbit in the headlights. She talked about the crew non-stop giving them shit nicknames like Spiderman because she saw him climb something one day. The crew that came with us had her card marked and had other ideas. That idea was to start snogging the Anglo-Japanese girls. Maybe they should have checked their passports, as the boatīs barman had chosen the 16 year old and was mortified the next day when he was told. Heīs 30 and got two kids. Oops! That night I spent my first night trying to get a good nights kip as the boat sailed off to Floreana. This was like sleeping in a washing machine. Everything went everywhere. Water kept coming in through the porthole. When the boat dropped anchor at 4am, it was right next to my bed. I though we were being attacked by pirates.

The next day we took the dingy to the shores of Floreana. Here they have Flamingos. And here Billy told another long waffley story about how he's great or something. He must have gone on for 30 mins. He then took us to a beach to see sea turtles nesting. Unfortunately it was the wrong time of year, so all we saw was the beach. Billy stared into space.

Later that morning we went snorkeling. The day before, I asked Billy would we see Hammerhead sharks. He said, as always, yes. After everyone had got off the dingy to snorkel, he took me a little further out saying there were hammerhead sharks here. There were not. In the distance I could hear people shouting out, ' I'm swimming with a seal!', 'Look Sea Turtles', 'A Ray!' I could see the bottom of the sea and that was about it. Saying that, when I caught up with them I did see a reef shark and a sea snake - so not all doom and gloom.

That afternoon we went to the beach, while Billy went off to play football. To be honest, there was nothing there apart from the barrel post box. This post box was used by sailors in the 'olden days'. They would pick up letters left by other sailors and deliver them if they were going in that direction. I left a postcard there for my Mum and Dad. If they get it, Iīll be amazed.

In the evening we were introduced to the crew, even though the Anglo-Japanese girls had already introduced themselves the night before. I think Billy should have met them earlier as well, maybe not in the same style, as he couldnīt remember their names. We then had to introduce ourselves. I stood up and said, 'Iīm Al from Englandī. Billy replied, 'Alf from Australia everyone.'

That night the cabin was like sleeping with a poltergeist. Things just flew across the room. I also noticed that the cabin was full of earwigs. I bloody hate earwigs.

The next day we anchored at Espanola. This was more like it. We saw seals, cubs, Sea Iguanas, Blue Footed (ahem) Boobys, the Grey Headed (fnarr) Boobys, Albatrosses (courtship dances et al) and finally a bloody Sea Turtle. In the afternoon we headed for Seal Beach, where you could swim with er, seals. Except they didnīt really want to swim, just laze around. They had something in common with Billy. He had found a shady part of the beach and told us to go swimming as he fell asleep. A small seal attacked me on this island much to a few peopleīs amusement, well those that appeared to be alive. Some of us then went off to Gardner Island to go snorkeling where, so Billy told me, there were Hammerhead sharks. If by Hammerhead if meant Porcupine fish, then yes -there were.

We then sailed to San Cristobal, the capital of the Galapagos (not that thatīs saying much) for a night out on the tiles. Well I say night, 80% of the people only wanted 1 hour on the island then wanted to go back to the boat. Crazy bunch this lot. Back on the boat, one of the crew members had taken leave of his senses and decided to take up the Aussie Stereotype on her lame passes. This set her in to a world of panic as she suddenly announced she was married (you see there's someone out there for everyone) and shouted, īAll you men are the same.'

The next day we headed back to San Cristobal to visit a museum (yes thatīs why I came here!) and then to hang around town for 2 hours while Billy went off to see a man about a dog or something. Here I got Lee's lost Hammerhead Shark (the only one I'd see on this trip) t-shirt to replace the one he lost when he came here and saw Hammerhead sharks.

We then sailed off to Santa Fe. This was a great experience as we snorkeled with sea turtles and swam with seals. I say we, 7 people stayed on the boat and didnīt want to do it. After that we landed on Santa Fe to see the seal bachelor colony and land iguanas.

On the seal beach, there was a dead seal. I asked Billy what had happened to it. He replied, 'Itīs dead.'
I then said, ' I know that. Itīs covered in flies. Iīd like to know did it die of natural causes? Did it lose a fight?'
Billy said, 'I donīt know. I didnīt notice it was dead until you pointed it out.'

The final day we went to North Seymour to see Frigates, more land Iguanas, Seals and more Boobys (yuk, yuk). Here Billy told us that these Land Iguanas donīt eat cactus as the other Galapagos Iguanas as this Island has none, so they only eat flowers. At this point some said, 'Isnīt that a cactus over there?' 'Yeah, there's another one'.

We then set sail for the final time to Baltra to fly home. I said goodbye to the earwigs by stamping on them. We flew back to Quito to all go out on a goodbye meal, which to me was an interesting concept as I hadnīt actually said hello to half of them. As I came down the stairs of our Quito hotel I found most of the 'gang' slagging me off for always being late. I smiled to myself, as Iīm always late and (in this case) couldn't give a shit. These people were so devoid of life I'm not sure why they came and itīs nice to know they'll be dining out or calling the Samaritans to tell the story of the late running Pomme in the Galapagos. That evening we sat round a table where very little was said again. After wards (8pm) only 5 people wanted to stay out for a drink. I was one, so I sank a few Cuba Libres while telling the girls about my cabin mate's unacceptable floater he left in our cabin loo and how I had to get rid of it. To be fair, I did save that story till after we'd eaten.

Galapagos is a very much recommended trip. You really need around 2-3 weeks and 4-5 days is nowhere near enough. And make sure you get a guide who gives a fuck. 
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