Galapagos - Baltra, South Plaza, Santa Fe Islands

Trip Start Mar 18, 2007
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Trip End Mar 16, 2008


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Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Galapagos Trip! After many hours wandering around Quito, we found a good boat to go travelling around the Galapagos on: The Guantanamera. It was for 8 days, and there was the possibility for scuba diving as well... good news, but I was a bit nervous as my last dive was in 2003!

So, after flying out of Quito, we arrived on Baltra Island and met our guide Victor. He was quite a good laugh and spoke English... well a lot better than my Spanish! He said hi to all of us going to the Guantanamera and instructed us to get our luggage from customs (basically a free-for-all and it´s amazing we all found our luggage).

Once on the boat, we met the other crew members. There were 16 passengers in total, plus 6 crew and the Victor. The other passengers were a good bunch of people and during the week we all seemed to have a good time!

Our first destination was Las Bachas Beach. Here, on the sandy white beaches, we saw the sea turtle nesting area and a lake frequented by leggy pink flamingos. Unfortunately they´d all gone on holiday and were not seen today. We got to see them later on other islands, but not on Santa Cruz. Afterwards, we cooled ourselves off with our first dip in the blue Pacific Ocean. Great stuff for the first day.

As this was our first evening together, the crew invited us to a pre-dinner cocktail on the yacht before the welcome dinner.

After breakfast we sailed to South Plaza Island, where a large colony of sea lions lounged waiting for the next shipment of tourists to come along.

At S. Plaza we saw the typical Galapaganean flora such as the towering cacti "trees" that form the principal diet for both the land iguanas and the cactus finch. Other birds we saw were the lava gulls, yellow warblers and red-billed tropicbirds with their elaborate tails.

After lunch on the yacht, we continued to Santa Fe Island, a sea journey of 2 1/2 hours. Upon arrival to the island, we were treated to a noisy welcome by (you guessed it!) more local sealions. We had a good tour and then went for a snorkel with the sea lions.

At Santa Fe, I did my first scuba dive in nearly 4 years. Was great fun and saw sea turtles and large manta rays. Definitely was a bit rusty, but survived it well. As each dive was $70 a pop, I could just afford 2 more after this. Pricey, but when will I get the chance to do this again??!
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