Cruising the Galapagos

Trip Start Aug 26, 2009
Trip End Aug 26, 2010

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Where I stayed
Yate Darwin

Flag of Ecuador  , Galápagos,
Thursday, September 24, 2009

OK so if I´d stopped and thought about it for more than 5 seconds I would have realised I was way off track... but I had this fantasy that I would be sailing the Galapagos on this gorgeous 40ft sailboat, visiting some islands to see the animals, snorkelling in crystal clear, tropical waters and relaxing up on deck at all other times...

The reality was we were on a cruise boat which was spread over 3 levels including the rooms, kitchen, dining, bar and communal lounge, and a top deck with a total of 3 deck chairs... granted there were only 16 passengers which I think made a good number and the boat turned out to be fine, but it just wasn´t what I imagined in my dreams.

And the water wasn´t either - it was freezing, 18 or 19 degrees and necessitated wetsuits!!

Added to that we had a crazy mad professor as a guide, who roused on us if we weren´t paying enough attention while he was talking (he insinuated to a couple at one point that 2 recent drowings in the Galapagos were likely due to the pair ´kissy, kissy´ while the briefing was occuring and naturally fell overboard as a result of their inattention...). LOL

Aside from that though the trip was great, good, unusual at times and sometimes also a bit boring - so we covered all dimensions. The route focused on the south - eastern islands - Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, San Cristobal, Española, Floreana and back to Santa Cruz to visit the Charles Darwin research centre. While the typical day followed a structure along the lines of: sail through the night, breakfast, excursion to an island to visit wildlife, back to the boat for morning tea/lunch, a rest, a snorkelling excursion, afternoon tea, a rest, dinner... you can see how this could become monotonous after 5 days.

I´m not going to give too many details for this story, i´ll let the photos speak for themselves... however a couple of highlights would be:

* Definitely the animals: they have no sense of fear of humans at all. They are so tame you can get right up close to them and they don´t even bat an eyelid - even the ones with babies. Very unique...

* Because of this you get the opportunity to live in their world briefly if you are lucky - one day I swam with sharks (only little but still...), eagle rays, sea lions and giant turtles, although the turtles are the shyest of the lot.

* The trip to Post Office Bay. This is a ramshackle of postbox-like wooden contraptions that exists in a bay. Its not a real post office. Traditionally ships would call in on their way through and pick up any mail for the direction they were heading, dropping it off when they arrived. The tradition continues today via travellers who take postcards with them and either hand deliver them (doesn´t seem likely???) or posting them when they arrive. I sent a postcard to my mum and work, still waiting to see if it ever gets there :) 

* Charles Darwin Research Centre: I have to add here that this is where I sprained my ankle (for those of you who have read my Inca post this is the source of one of my trifecta complaints), so for most of the tour I was hobbling and in serious pain. Despite that though the land turtles were facinating. Again they let you get real close and the baby ones were sooooo cute

No finches, sorry...

Not my favourite experience on the journey, but definitely still a once in a lifetime.

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