Four day cruise around the Galapagos

Date    21 – 25 February 2014

 

This was our treat whilst in the Galapagos and the only way to really see both the scenery and the wildlife in unspoilt habitat that you hear so much about.  Day trips can achieve a certain amount but you are limited by travelling to and fro from the main ports. 

 

Sixteen of us, of which twelve were from the World ARC fleet, boarded the motor yacht ‘Fragata’ (As in Frigate Bird) at Baltra which is on the map at the north side of Santa Cruz marked with an anchor.  The cruise finished at Puerto Ayora which is at the south side of Santa Cruz Island.  Our route is marked by the magenta line

 

 

Our itinerary then took us to Mosquera, to swim with seals then overnight to the north end of Isla Isabela where we swam with turtles, penguins, seals and viewed marine iguanas, blue footed boobies and flightless cormorants in one major and very impressive stop.  The other stops on Isabella, Fernandina and San Salvador followed in a hectic schedule of treks, snorkelling and panga (inflatable) rides, with each location selected for either the recent (150 year old) volcanic scenery and/or specific wildlife viewing.  Our English speaking guide was excellent and very knowledgeable and kept us pleasantly but firmly within the National Park rules.

 

The best way to give a feel for what we saw is to include a few of the many photographs taken.  The new Hero underwater camera recorded some interesting video of turtles, penguins and cormorants but for that you will have to be invited around to see our “holiday movies”.

 

 

Galapagos penguins are much smaller than those we saw in South Africa.  Underwater they are amazing performers

 

A pair of blue footed boobies.  I think that it must be the female doing her hair whilst then male waits.

A land iguana foraging

 

Why did the giant tortoise cross the road?

Flightless cormorants.  They are much more elegant in the water.

 

A sub-species of marine iguana found on San Salvador

 

And the same sub-species in the water

 

And of course sea lions everywhere.  The islanders say that sea lions own the islands

 

 

A sub-species of homo sapiens caught feeding

 

It was the Mate’s birthday mid-cruise and after dinner the Guide in league with the chef produced a large, decorated chocolate cake.  Happy birthday was sung in four languages and the crew insisted that it was a Galapagos custom that the birthday person took a first bite out of the cake.  Darwin would say that you learn through evolution, mind you he also observed on the survival of the fittest.  Those who know Elizabeth at all well will not be disappointed to hear that she was a god sport and ended up wearing her birthday cake.  With the aid of a bottle of spiced rum originally provided by Andrew during his visit, a good time was had by the assembled company and the Mate had a very jolly birthday.