Grand odyssey adventure
Trip Start Jun 14, 2011
70Trip End Sep 21, 2011
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Our journey on the Odyssey has been a amazing so far. We started in Porto Ayora. Our first day onboard we went to visit the Charles Darwin research center and the tortoise breeding and conservation centre. We saw species of tortoises That do not exist anyplace else in the world. Rangers collect eggs from the islands and bring them there to hatch and they keep them there for about 4 Years until their shells are too hard to become a snack for it's predators. Some specific species of tortoises stay longer until the reach sexual maturity at age 35when they are bread to assure the survival of the species.
Every evening at 630 we have a briefing where we talk about the days activities and the next days schedule. The we have dinner which is always superb!
Our second morning here we left on little boats before breakfast right at 6 am
After breakfast we disembarked on to Isabella island where we visited another Giant tortoise breeding centre. We also saw pink flamingoes and several fresh water and semi fresh water lagoons. We took a ride up to the volcano Sierra Azul and Sierra Negro. It was raining on top of the volcano so we did not really hike around there but went back into the town a d beach. Mikael and I went body surfing in the waves while maija practiced acro tricks on the white sand beach. Our group consists of 13 passengers including us 4 so it is a perfect size, and all amazing people.
Our guide is a level 3 guide who has worked in Galapagos conservation for 28 years, he is so knowledgeable and loves Sharing his stories and adventures. He has worked with many documentaries and for national geographic.
The highlight of today was snorkeling with the giant sea turtles. It was fantastic. They come and swim all around you and are so gracious. the kids absolutely loved it as did we !!!
The wildlife is so abundant everywhere you turn there is something to see,,,, a sea lion chasing a penguins , and sea lion playing with a manta ray, blue footed bobbies plunging into a school of fish in a feeding frenzy or simply hundreds of marine iguanas spitting salt through their noses.
Today we had a few hours to relax on the ship and maija and Mikael spent a while in one of the two hot tubs on deck and Jonas and I lazed in one of the many King sized day beds before we took a ride in our small motor boats through the mangrove forests
In the evening when we got back to the ship we layed on the sun deck and lazed, I think mikael stayed in the hot tub a little too long and when he got up he felt sick. He leaned over the railing and got sick, just as he did so Xavier our absoute favourite crew member leaned his head out on the deck below and unbelievably mikael managed to throw up right onto Xaviers head! I Screamed and Mikael jumped and cried out oh no Am I going to be in trouble? Poor Mikael, Poor Xavier! Mikael soon felt better and after Xavier had a shower or two he was as good as new and the two of them are good buddies.
On Sunday (fathersday) we went to Fernandine Island where the Pirates used to go. We walked in the steps of the plunderers and saw their old graffiti still careved on the volacanic rock walls, it was really special. IT was a really hot day it is a humid heat but the wind is lovely. We went Kayaking in the afternoon in the bay and snorkeling. Maija and Mikael Love it and are not scared at all. we snorkeled with the penguins, which look like little torpedoes when they dive down and lots of turtles. One little turtle seemed to be following us where ever we swam
Monday: I slept like a baby on the Grand Odyssey, it might have something to do with that we are so busy during the day with physical activities that by the time we have dinner a glass of wine and the evening debriefing we are all pooped. we get up at about 6 am every day and have breakfast; Fabricio our guide believes in getting out on our tours early early and he is right, we see the sun rise and all the animals.
We are really enjoying the company of our travel mates. Horatio is a journalist from Wales who is on the boat and he is doing a piece on luxury travel in the Galapagos, I cant wait to see the article when it is done. Barry is the official photographer who is working with Horatio and he is just a great great guy. HE is a film maker/photographer who clearly loves people. then we have a lovely couple from chile who enjoy the finer things in life, including luxury travel. He was an engineer with his own company that he sold and "now we have to spend the money" he says. Fabulous people. The rest of the gang is a family from Miami celebration Hanna's (the daughter) graduation from Stanford University (also where the eldest son Max graduated from and where youngest son Sam will go next year) Mother Diane is a endocronologist and just a sweetheart
Anyhow,when we got up this morning we saw the most astonishing double rainbow it looked like it came full cirlcle with the reflection in the ocean. it was so bright and mikael was quite upset that we could not go and search for a treasure at the end of the rainbow, since clearly there had to be one. after breakfast we went out to a sandy beach and went for a little nature hike and went snorkeling again . Hanna and Max encountered a sea lion and we had been told that they often come and want to play with you. And this one did, it copied everything Hanna did, she did a flip, so didi the sea lion and she twirled so did it, amazing....Max was able to get some video of the whole games as well. Maija Mikael and I did not see the sea lion but we saw thousands of fish. I have snorkeled a lot over the years but this was truely amazing. So many Huge colorful fish everywhere, it was almost difficult to get through the schools. The boobies kept diving down next to us feeding on the smaller fish.re were also tons of crabs and two researchers living in tents on the beach doing research on Galapagos hawks.
We have just had lunch ( the food on this cruise is amazing) and mikael is playing monopoly with his buddys Sam and Max and maija and daddy are relaxing on the sun deck. in about half an hour we will disembark and go to a sealion breeding colony before we go snorkeling again.
We are back on board -wow what an amazing last full day here. We arrived at Santiago Island and went for a hike. first we encountered a baby sea lion in a little water whole. He was so adorable. Jonas has become the master of making sealion noises so he bagan to beckon it and it answered, we were right by it perhaps a meter away and the sea lion came right up to Jonas and answered his call. it was hilarious, jonas has become "the sea lion whisperer" . we kept walking and arrived at what is referred to as Darvins Toilet, it ia beautiful viaduct with crystal clear water flowing in and out. There we saw fur sea-lions , which are different than normal sea-lions. Apparently they are nocturnal and not as friendly, but they were just as adorable. The hike was hot but beautiful, we went back to the boat and was again greeted with drinks and snacks, there is so much food!!! At 3 we took the pangas out towards the reef and went snorkeling. It is difficult to describe the amount of marine life and the colors of the ocean. It is like being submerged into a smorgasbord of life and color. We again encountered several turtles and this time we actually got to swim with a sea lion, that was the highlight for Maija for sure. They are hillarious as they copy everything that you do , they are very playful when they are small. The bigger ones can be dangerous. For me I think that the coolest thing was when a bluefooted Boobie dove down for a fish straight in front of Maija and I as we were snorkeling, it was terrifyingly exciting
Our photographer Barry who is doing the pictures for the article Horatio is writing has a web site I want to share with you, it www.barrylewisphotography.com he is awesome photographer.
we are just getting ready for our evening briefing in the main hall, the kids are playing monopoly with Max and Sam, they are having so much fun and jonas is chatting with the neurologist over a glass of vino and I am sitting hear watching rays flipping in the ocean around us and our last Galapagos sunset.
We are now going to navigate for 16 hours, we have been told that it might be a rough night but lets keep our fingers crossed. Tomorrow morning we are going to have breakfast at 6 am and go on a panga ride at 6.30. to look for more birds and sea lions and at 930 we disembark have some free time on saint cristobal until about 11 am and then we all head out to the airport and go to quito Ecuador. We will arrive in Cusco about 5 or so and we did get an email that our luggage has actually arrived at the Hilton there
firstname.lastname@example.org is our guides email address his name is fabrico carbo he is a Galapagos naturalist guide and he said he is happy to answer any questions regarding Galapagos islands that you might have.
we are now sitting on the air plane we just stopped and let some passengers off in a coastal town and we have about another 30 minutes until we get to Quito. we started taking altitude pills today and my hands and feet are numb, I think i feel worse from taking the pills than I would from altitude...
We had a great day. We saw amazing things again this morning on the panga ride and the sea loons were following us around. Once we disembarked in San Cristobal we went to a nature centre and we learned all about when the Galapagos was first discovered it is so interesting. IF yo ever get a chance to take out a book or film on the history of Galapagos, Do it! it is an incredible story and how the theory of evolution came to be with the Darwin finches. Down by the shore in town there were hundreds of sealions lazying around, there were 2 water slides for kids and the sea lions had climbed inside and were napping. There was one particularly cute baby sea lion that the kids were playing with , he finally tired and went into the slide and went to sleep. I wanted to take a picture of Mikael pretending to kiss him so he leaned in really close and puckered up , just as he did he baby sea lion Sneezed all over Mikael! IT was the funniest thing so I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will not have to deal with a sealion cold on the way :0)
Tomorrow morning we leave really early for Lima Peru where we have a 2 hour stopover and then on to Cusco. I am super excited about that and it is also Mikaels Birthday! I am not as excited about getting up at 4 am however. ;0)