Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
Trip End Apr 08, 2008

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Friday, March 14, 2008

First day on the Galapagos.  I get this huge rush as I see the islands from the plane...and then after multiple transfers to get to the boat, I meet my boat mates for the week...I like them all...esp my roommate...this is a varied group, in age and in home country.  I'm the only American which is nice for me.  We visit the Charles Darwin Research Station... see lots of tortoises sleeping in the sun.  The little hatchlings are the busiest...there are tons of them and they're bustling around and eating...this place breeds them and then sends then back to their home island.  I walk around Puerto Ayora...I'm going to spend another five days there after my boat experience and I'm glad I chose to.  This is a very cool town, perfect for me...right on the ocean, totally laid back place, tasty looking places to eat, fish brought in on boats, pelicans circling for remains, lots of people hanging out...I'm really looking forward to my time here.  I talk to this guy about doing some diving.  I can get certified in four days...I've only snorkeled, never dived, this seems like a great opportunity...
Back to the boat, dinner, conversation....I'm thrilled to be here.  Very happy to have chosen a small's really intimate...people connect easily.  The tiniest rooms in the world...somehow the cocoon-like feeling and the constant rocking of the boat is making me incredibly sleepy...enough excitement for one day...
It's day four of my Galapagos adventure.  A recap... The boat is fine...miniscule cabins, but - who needs space inside?  There are two that have windows in them....don't know how they were appropriated but I'm trying hard not to feel irritated about not being in one.  I've got a great rooommate, a young woman from the UK...she's flexible and really a pleasure to be around.  The rest of the people are good folks...quite a variety.  Now about the guide...this old guy who looks like he's morphing into a tortoise....honestly....and his English is poor, and when you're a guide for an English speaking audience, that's kind of important.  He's classed as a Naturalist II, which apparently means that if you have any knowledge of the islands at all and need a job, you're hired.   The beauty of this place can be appreciated without a guide, but a good guide can really enhance any experience...however I think we're on our own here.  Just found out he's leaving tomorrow, on day five, and we're getting a new one...YAYYYYY!
So the way this trip works is that you live on the boat and generally travel during the nights to the next island.  You go for hikes to see the wildlife and then you get to snorkel, generally twice a day if you choose.  The snorkeling is my favorite actually.  I mean it's totally cool to see the volcanic landscapes and the seals and sea lions flapping about within inches of you....and then of course, there's the blue footed boobies and the red footed boobies....and a zillion other types of birds.  But snorkeling you get to swim with sea turtles, stingrays, wildly colorful sea stars, fish of colors beyond the imagining, and then there are the seals.  It's very cool - and slightly intimidating - to have them torpedo by you in the water and play around with you, their sleek bodies spinning around, shooting up and down in the water.  They kind of give you a jolt at first cause they're big and they come out of nowhere and are fast.  It's a thrill to be in the water with all this wildlife. 
So that's the best part of the experience for me.  And the food is great...I'm eating too seems that when that dinner bell rings, I can't be there fast enough.  And mostly I'm able to hold all my food down...I only had one episode of seasickness...on the second day.  I ate some weird dessert against my better judgment and sure enough, as I rolled about in the shower deep in my below water cabin, the dessert resurfaced.  It was all I could do to wash the soap off and lay down.  But once I lay down, I'm fine...the rocking is actually soothing...and the engine noise that is generated from right below my cabin...  well that's ok too. 
In fact, this morning, I was awakened to the smell of burning rubber and then the engine stops.  When a deafening, rumbling noise that you've gotten used to stops, it wakes you up.  I hear an Ay, Yay, Yay! from Bolivar, the theoretical Naturalist II...its before 6 AM...I jump out of bed because if there's going to be an electrical fire, I'm going to be the first in the water.  Well sure enough, everybody is scurrying around...I'm trying to stay out of the way but get some info at the same I can tell -and my limited Spanish is carrying me here - is that a bunch of fish got jammed into some flywheel of the engine and something burned out.  No need to evacuate ...the crew scurries around...pieces together this and that...we tie up to a nearby boat and they help us out...the whole process is pretty interesting...seeing the crew in action....i'm feeling pretty confident in them at the moment...our day continues as though nothing out of the ordinary happened.   
One big thrill today was following these dolphins...I'm hanging out on the deck and all of a sudden, lots of dolphins out a ways.  We drop everything....hop in a small boat and cruise over there....and they're leaping and frolicking in the water surrounding the boat.   And there's this playful seal who thinks s/he is a dolphin frolicking with them...mimicking their leaps and swimming right amongst them....there must have be 20 or 25 of them....again inches away...close enough to touch.  A spontaneous thrill ....

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galapagoslover on

Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge Puerto Ayora
We decide to stay at Puerto Ayora and pick this lovely small Hotel name Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge, Very confortable and beatiful place to stay righ on the edge of Puerto Ayora, the best view of the town the Only hotel in the main area of town with a deck that you share with sea lions and marine iguanas, we are taking day tours to visit nearby islands

surtrek on

great travel pictures,(

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