Meet Lard-Ass and happy 36th aboard Amigo!!!

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Saturday, October 15, 2005

"Are you having a good time?", I asked.

"No, not really. The bloody water is too murky to see anything with this stupid snorkel equipment. They claim it should be white-tipped reef sharks close to the mangroves, but I haven't seen as much as a tadpole.", answered Lard-Ass in his tiny Speedo.

We first spotted Lard-Ass at the check-in desk at the airport in Guayaquil. And after waiting close to 40 minutes for him to finish his check-in, we knew immediately that we would bump into Lard-Ass again. The ultimate package tourist. And we were right. Of course he was on the same speedboat as us from San Cristobal to Santa Cruz, showing us his passport stamps and bragging about all the countries he has visited over the years.

"South Korea, of course I've been there. Here's my Cambodian visa, it's green and takes up a whole page. It's a kingdom, you should go visit. I have ten days vacation in April and ten days in October. The rest of the year I spend in Manchester, working hard to save money for my adventure trips. I book and plan all my vacations 11 months in advance of the actual trip. And this time it's five days on Galapagos and five in Quito and the Ecuadorian Amazon. You've been to Easter Island you say, how long did you stay there? Five days???, that's way too long. I'll go there next year for a day or two, snap a few photos and get the stamp before my return flight to Santiago. Should be more than enough."

And now we have bumped into Lard-Ass again, heavily sunburned on the beach in Tortuga Bay. He is not impressed with the Galapagos Islands, and only got one night left of his five days stay. He wanted to go to Isla Isabela, because that's where they filmed "Master and Commander" with Russell Crowe, but he didn't manage to find a boat that could take him across the sea. So he has spent most of his five days in and around the town of Puerto Ayora on Isla Santa Cruz. And now he is complaining about the crap snorkeling in Tortuga Bay, and how they wanted US $200 and his precious passport stamps as a security deposit for the flipper rental. "Hey guys, rubber doesn't break! Anyway, keep the bloody fins, I'll use my own feet."

After the Galapagos Islands, Lard-Ass will go to the Amazon. But he is not off to see some pristine rainforest, no..., instead he'll spend his time in a somewhat dodgy oil boomtown close to the Colombian border. "I'll just take a few day walks around the city on my own, should be able to spot some wildlife then don't you think?" I don't answer Lard-Ass, but bet he won't see much more than herds of sketchy characters. Considering he spent 11 months planning this trip, I am amazed at how clueless he is. In my opinion you should work extremely hard to have a bad time in the Galapagos. I think I can see him in a scruffy Manchester pub, lets say a few weeks from now, bragging to all his local friends. "Hi guys, never ever go to Ecuador, it sucks big time. The Galapagos Islands are a big joke if you ask me. The Amazon you say, hey don't even go there!!!"

So the biggest Galapagos moment for Lard-Ass, was when he jumped the fence at the Charles Darwin Research Station (on Isla Santa Cruz) in order to get a close up photo, as well as pat Lonesome George (the famous giant tortoise) on the head. If some of the park rangers had seen him, I bet they would have thrown him off the island. "It doesn't matter, I'm leaving tomorrow anyway, and I got the best photo. You should have seen all the retired German and US couples, trying to snap good old Lonesome from a 100m distance. Bloody useless ay?"

And that's all we see of Lard-Ass, he is going back to his hotel. "Can't take this sun anymore!" Two minutes later my brother and I go over to the mangroves and look for the white-tipped reef sharks. It takes us about ten seconds to spot a bunch of them swimming around...

The next day my brother and I spent bicycling around Isla Santa Cruz, looking for giant tortoises (yes, we found a few) and then the following day we set off on our eight days cruise around the Galapagos Islands. We managed to get a cabin aboard Amigo (a so-called tourist superior class boat that we had heard both good and bad things about). It turned out to be a fantastic trip. The cruise was relatively cheap (considering we are talking Galapagos here), the boat was old but more than good enough for us, the food was great and so were the crew. I got to celebrate my 36th aboard amongst good friends from Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Ecuador, US, Scotland, England, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. We managed to visit nine different islands; San Cristobal, Isla Lobos, Santa Fe, Isla Plaza Sur, Santa Cruz (including Black Turtle Cove), Isla Seymour, Isla Bartolomé, Floreana and Española. All great places with some unbelievable fearless animals (for me Seymour and Española were the highlights). I also managed to do two dives close to Floreana (Devil's Crown and Enderby). Expensive but pretty good diving. I had hoped to see some hammerhead sharks, but unfortunately it didn't work out. However, Oscar from Iceland and I spotted one hammerhead shark swimming at the surface a few meters from the boat (how I know it was a hammerhead shark you say? Hmm, go figure). What else did we spot? Well, how about; Galapagos sharks, white-tipped reef sharks, marine turtles, stingrays, eagle rays, barracuda, marine iguanas, land iguanas, lava lizards, sally lightfoot crabs, giant tortoises, sea lions (hundreds), albatross, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, nazca boobies, mockingbirds, Darwin finches, Galapagos penguins, Galapagos hawks, swallow-tailed gulls, flamingos and the cool frigate bird, as well as tons of other birds and fish. Overall an awesome trip, except our guide's expertise sucked (she was nice enough though). Will it be number one???
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hodge
hodge on

galapagos
Hi there,

I'm just about to book my around the world ticket. Would you recommend booking a tour of the galapagos or should I wait until I get to quito? Also how much should I expect to pay??

Thanks

Matt

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