We are enjoying our time at Puerto Ayora! The
weather has continued to be inclement, heavy rain showers often (unseasonal we
are told), so it is very hot and humid. Geoff finally arrived on thursday
afternoon, after a near arrival on wednesday! Apparently due to the rain, the
radio at the airport was out of action and the plane was unable to land, so a 3
hour flight to nowhere for GBW and then a successful arrival on thursday from
Guayaquil. Barb moved to a hotel ashore on thursday, as she was pursuing some
educational opportunities through the Darwin Centre. We encouraged John to enjoy
the land based facilities, so we have all been catching up daily and enjoying
dinners together. Barb left Galapagos today for Quito in Ecuador.
We visited the Darwin Centre, saw Lonesome George,
the famed last existing tortoise from the island of Pinta. He is aged between 90
and 100 years and the scientists are still hopeful he will mate although he
doesn't appear very interested! There were also several land iguanas and
many more varieties of giant tortoise, from the various islands. It was feed
time and the tortoises were all lined up enjoying their meal of
The most fascinating place in the bay is the
fishmarket, which runs all day every day and of course attracts many tourists.
The scraps are fed to the waiting pelicans and one very special seal - Pancho -
who waits at the feet of the fishmongers and keeps the pelicans under control. A
sea iguana also participates in the action. It's not unusual to see the
fishermen chasing the opportunistic pelicans to retrieve a fish. Huge wahoo lie
on the ground, just too much temptation!
We took a taxi ride on friday up to the highlands
in the centre of the island and walked down through a lava tunnel - very dark
and wet from all the rain, but well lit, even though the electric wires
were mistaken for hand ropes on several occasions! Then on to a "tortoise farm"
on the edge of the national park to see more giant tortoises in their natural
habitat, including a pair mating - a very slow, noisy, cumbersome
The extraordinary thing is that none of the
wildlife appears to have any fear of man, no matter what species. We also
went out to a beach (Garrapatero) on the east coast which had been washed
away by the Japanese Tsunami. Several areas had been affected
The Galapagos Islands were first discovered in 1535
by the Bishop of Panama! The tortoises were in high demand after the
islands discovery, in the era of pirates and whalers - they could remain
alive in the hulls for months with no food or water.
On saturday we took a day trip to an island on the
east coast of Santa Cruz - Islas Plazas and walked among the sea lions,
nesting sea birds, multitudes of land iguanas, some sea iguanas and red and blue
footed boobies. Then on to a snorkeling spot at Punta Carrion which was quite
disappointing. Numbers of fish, but very murky water. A small hammerhead shark
was seen as we anchored. We also saw many rays leaping out of the water and
splashing down again, something we hadn't seen previously.
The people here are very friendly and happy and we
are all enjoying testing our spanish - with some hilarity! Food is good,
particularly the seafood and is mostly cooked to perfection. Internet and phone
service seems very intermittent.
We are watching the weather (still very little
wind) and are thinking we will leave tomorrow later in the day, once we have
been to the local fruit and veg market to stock up, and completed our clearance
formalities. We don't have the luxury of waiting for a weather window, as both
Geoff and John need to get on with their lives!