Trip Start Nov 03, 2008
Trip End May 2009

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lets get this bit done first, as we knew of one young man who is dying to know and keeps on and on at his nan to find out.....YES Lewis, Lonesome George is alive and well. He now lives on Santa Cruz Isalnd, in his own corral with a couple of females for company. However, due to his world wide fame, he has become a bit of a recluse and spends a lot of his time in hiding, so the picture we have isnt too clear as he was  inside his house. But watch the post at home : o )
Each Island has its own endemic species of animals, over the 8 days we saw so much its hard to pick any highlights, it was all amazing. But, special moments for me, were finding a few early male Wave Albertross on Espaņol (when we were not expecting to see them) sat on their nests waiting for their wives to arrive and watching the Blue Footed Boobies doing their mating dance... Bri is still trying to perfect it. And on it goes, so we have way too many pictures and clips to bore you with, but, as Bri managed to fall out of the boat, with his camera, there are a few less than he intended : O )
The chef on the boat ( Victor) was a larger than life character and his mission was to ensure you put on at least 10 stone within the first 2 days....portion control wasnt part of his vocabulary. And just incase you didnt fancy the salads he did hot veg as well, so no excuses. He specialised in ramdom combinations, beef kebabs and brussel sprouts for one....they aint just for xmas you know!
We had a good group to play with from all over the world and all ages ranging from 11 years ( Camp Canadia school hols) to Joyce, game ole girl of 83....I want to be just like her when I grow up. Mable x

Mac was sooo excited he was up all night again, or maybe it was the noise from the local disco and the same sodding car alarm that has followed him around since La Paz!  All was going swimmingly until the group got lost getting to the plane, if it had not been for some bloke hoovering the carpet pointing them to the correct gate they may have ended up on a flight to Albania!  Mac arrived on the island wearing shorts and his newly laundered tee shirt... to find that his was in the middle of a monsoon, he was glad he left most of his wet weather gear behing at Quito.  After waiting for what seemed like hours for the bags to travel the full 50ft from the plane to the shed that was the baggage reclaim and with the bags being dumped off the trailer onto the floor the mad scramble commenced, everyone was obviously keen to get very wet.  The wet transfer to the boat, via a mad bus driver, a sea taxi boat that leaked and another taxi that went at a speed Lewis Hamilton would have problems keeping up with AND with a windscreen soooo misted up you couldnt see through it, dead scary.  On the other side of the island it was blazing sun and very very hot, shame us and all our bags were sooo wet....but they quickly dried to a state of mear dampness  Onto the boat and let the adventure begin with sealions, palicans diving into the ocean and beer.

The Galapagos islands themselves are pretty barren, hot places.  There are still numerous active volcanoes and the landsacpe at times resembles the surface of the moon.  Mac enjoyed snorkelling, which he did at every possible opportunity.  He swam with sharks, sealions, sea turtles, millions of fish, rays and got within inches of penguines, yes another hobby to take up!  All, however did not go swimmingly for Bri, if you forgive the pun.  On one trip ashore, which was classified as a wet landing, meaning you get A BIT WET, he was unfortunate to be the victim of a series of freak incidents which resulted in a tragic accident... not of his making.  So, there he was, sitting on the side of the zodiac waiting to get off, when suddenly a wave slighty larger than the one at the end of A Perfect Storm, hit the boat. Now this would have been easy had Lesley not tried to get out of the boat at the same time.  The sudden shift of weight from her child bearing hips which pays testimony to the 8 children she has yet to have, caused the zodiac to rear like a bronco that had just been branded on its testicles.  Despite a heroic attempt to keep his balance Bri tumbled in... with his camera attached to his belt.  Willow our tour guide said he looked like Leonardo De Caprio in the final scenes from Titanic under the water. everybody laughed.  The camera was dead, but the memory card appeared to be fine and Bri had had his first bath since New Zealand.

As Mable had said, Victor our chef was a larger than life character who enjoyed tasting his own pies.  His mastery of fusion menus, including pizza with carrots and beetroot, garlic coissants and what tasted like mango and turnip smoothies is something we will never forget or be able to emulate.  Heston a new master is knocking on your door!

The other group members where in large, good fun.  For the first part of the trip there were 2 Canadian  families with their kids who kept Mac amused, especially Nemo with his gimp glove covering his lower arm plaster (fancy breaking your arm 2 days before going on holiday) and the two girls, number one and two (they were twins and hard to tell appart)  Paul, a Totenham supporter from London, never mind, but he was a good drinking partner and Lesly, who was much toooo nice for him! Anna from Russia was good fun and lost badly at Reverso, but despite the confines of the boat always managed to look as if she was on the QE2 in the evenings... how did she do it?  Magnus and Anna from Sweeden took all the blame for ABBA and Bjork, although they pointed out she was from Iceland it didnt matter as they were close enough.  Once the Candians left were were joined by another Anna (makes it easy to remember the names), Sarah, Joyce (a 83 year old back packer) and Dr Cock, well that was not his real name BUT he was a GP from Canada and a real cock.  Let me give you an example. There was Mac snorkelling happily on his own near some rocks.  Once done he heads back to the beach as he has gone all crinkley.  He bumps into Dr Cock, snorkelling with his receintly pruchased floppy Galapagos hat tied onto his head. "If you swin just past these rocks  ther is  a trench that has loads of starfish on the botton and they are massive" says Mac.  "Will you come with me as I dont want to go on my own" he says.... what a cock!

So all in all Mac loved the Islands, the pictures will speak louder than words, save your money and visit, you wont regret it, unless you get Victor as the chef!.  Mac
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