I donīt even know where to begin. I feel like the last two weeks have been such a blur-but a fantastic one. I canīt find the words to describe the experience there-it was THAT great! Alright...Bay (a friend from home)and I arrived on Puerto Ayora, which is on the southern coast of Santa Cruz.
We were met by our guide, David, and 9 other travelers that would be with us on the Sulidae for the next 5 days. We really lucked out and ended up with an awesome group. We had a family of 5 from Chile, to include little Juan Pablo, age 8:), Adelino ( a 65 y/o solo traveler from Spain who loved filming the animals, and spoke the fastest Spanish I have ever heard!), Carin the diver from Washington State, and Trevor and Diyah, or Team Canada:)! I loved that we had such a diverse group, and everyone got along really well-which is a definite plus when your living together on a sailboat for 5 days. Not only were Bay and I lucky with the group-but we somehow ended up getting the best (and biggest) cabin in the boat.
We were in the very back of the boat and had a panoramic view through our THREE windows in our room! The breeze was awesome and we were the only ones on the boat that didnīt get sea sick at night (we did feel a little guilty because everyone else had such small cabins, but only for a little bit;)). Our boat, or home for the duration was The Sulidae
, a 105 y/o wooded sailboat that was with no exaggeration the most beautiful boat on the water. It had so much character, and looked like a pirate ship from a different time. Also-the food was phenomenal. We had three meals a day and all of the food was fresh (the fresh fish was my favorite!) and prepared by our own personal chef. I had no complaints about the cruise, I would recommend this boat and crew to anyone who is interested in booking a cruise in the islands-and it is actually one of the more reasonable (price-wise)options. Ok, I could blab on forever-so I will try to highlight
some of our activities. We of course saw more wildlife than I thought was possible.
Blue-footed boobies, Frigates, land tortoises, sea turtles, rays, sea lions, land and sea iguanas, sharks, thousands of fish, and more. Snorkeling was definitely a highlight. At one point when Bay and I were snorkeling we had 4 huge sea turtles just swimming around us, eating the plant life under the water and circling us! Devilīs Crown
was a great place for snorkeling. We were surrounded by sea lions, sharks, sea turtles, rays, and fish of all sizes and colors. If snorkeling was that beautiful, I can only imagine what diving would be like there.
The animals are not afraid, and will basically come right up to you, sometimes bumping into you. In the Galapagos the animals are highly protected and have no natural predators, so they have no fear of humans.
Hopefully this doesnīt change in the years to come with tourism picking up, because right now it really is paradise on earth and it would be a shame to lose such a place (as it now is).
After spending 5 days aboard the Sulidae, and visiting 5 islands (Floreana, Espaņola, Caleta Tortuga Negra, Santa Fe, Islas Plazas, and of course the Charles Darwin Station on Santa Cruz) we spent a few days on Santa Cruz and just hung out for awhile and relaxed. Monday morning we flew back to the mainland and hopped on a bus to Montaņita (yes, the beach town where I spent New Yearīs) for the remainder of the week. Bay was able to catch some waves, and I had fun lounging on the beach and improving my tan!
This morning, after 4 days of beach bumming, we caught the 5am bus to Guayaquil (3 hours) where we parted ways-me hopping on another bus to Cuenca (4 hours) and Bay catching a flight back to Quito to then catch another flight back home to the states. So! Now I am in Cuenca, known to be Ecuadorīs most beautiful colonial city. A classic example of a planned Renaissance town in the Americas, Cuenca shares many architectural features with Old Quito, such as itīs narrow cobbled stone streets and balconied houses with interior courtyards. There are also many beautiful cathedrals and museums. It should be interesting this weekend because of Carnaval-already I have been squirted with water guns by the local children! It is apparently an old Carnaval custom from Spain, and the water was thought to cleanse you of any negativity or evil spirits. Who knows, but Iīll be lucky to stay dry over the next couple of days. I am actually thinking of buying a water gun on the street so I can join in the fun! Tomorrow will be the tourist/cultural day for me where I will visit the museums, cathedrals, and anything else interesting while taking loads of pics and talking to the locals. Iīll post them as soon as I can. Then Sunday it is back on the bus heading south to Loja, making my way to Peru. I plan on being in Cuzco this time next week, so I have a lot of ground to cover between now and then.Well, I have uploaded some pictures but for some reason they are not in order-oh well! I will be uploading more, so check back in a couple of days:) Iīll write again soon. Man, time has flown by since I have left Quito!