Fly to the Galapagos Islands and board our cruise ship, MV Galapagos Legend - Legend Suite
The alarm went off at 3.45 am (eek!). We had probably had about five hours sleep so that wasn't too bad. This hotel is pretty good. How many hotels do you know that will start breakfast at 4.30 am? Not many, I bet!
We had a very quick breakfast as we had to be on the bus at 5.15 am. Our check in luggage had been collected the night before at 8.30 pm and was taken to the airport to be opened and checked and then put on the plane and we didn't see it again until we landed in the Galapagos.
The trip to the airport was quick and uneventful because it was SO early in the morning and there was no traffic on the road. We arrived at the airport at about 6.00 am, and proceeded through immigration and security without a hitch. Our forms had been partially printed for us and we just had to fill in our home addresses. Our guide had really stressed the point that no matter what was on the form, whether it was right or wrong, it didn't matter, JUST DON'T OVERWRITE ANYTHING or the authorities could get quite bolshi. On our forms, they had me as a male and Phil as a female!
We arrived at our departure gate and Phil decided to go for a walk and disappeared. Just then they announced boarding for our flight to the Galapagos, and he was no where to be seen. Everyone lined up and I was left standing with our bags, waiting for him to come back. Good grief! Finally he came wandering back and we were almost the last ones to board the bus that took us out to our aircraft. As we were taxiing to the runway, we finally got to see Cota Paxi volcano. Very impressive. Phil has been trying to see it for the last six days in Quito but it has always been covered by clouds.
I am so impressed with all our flights in South America so far. They all take off precisely on time. Our flight to the Galapagos went via Guyaquil. We landed there after about 40 minutes and then those of us who were going on to the Galapagos just stayed on the plane. Thank goodness we didn't have to get off and then board again.
Our flight took off about 40 minutes later and it took about an hour forty to get to the Galapagos. South American airlines are known for their lack of food on flights. You usually only get some crackers and cheese, however we were given a hot ham and cheese roll which wasn't too bad. Phil sat next to Leo during the flight. Leo is a guide on our ship and they talked a lot about the Galapagos.
Galapagos has three airports. We landed at Baltra Airport and we're starting to feel the heat. Hot and humid. By the time we got on the bus for the 10 minute ride to the wharf, then put on our life jackets, then hopped in the zodiac with all our carry ons for the ride to the ship, we are sopping wet.
Our cabin is lovely. Scenic upgraded us because we had a few problems in our cabin on Le Boreal - nothing dramatic, just no water on a couple of occasions, which was fixed very quickly and no lights one night. Anyway, we are in this huge cabin with a big bed, a double balcony and an absolutely huge bathroom. It's great.
Sort of unpacked and then went down for lunch which was really nice. The first course was quinoa and vegetable soup which was just yummy. Most of our group had a beer with their lunch as we were so hot.
After lunch we attended a briefing about which groups we are in and our afternoon excursion. We belong to the cormorant group - the 10 of us plus Roy and Virginia from Winnipeg and Chantelle from Scotland and Ian from Leeds. Before going ashore, those of us who will be snorkelling over the next few days, went up to the Moon Deck to collect our snorkels and flippers. It was like the Boxing Day sales, everyone grabbing everything!
Our first excursion was to see the giant tortoises at El Chato 2 ranch. We took a zodiac from the ship to the shore. It is quite a long way, not short like our Antarctic zodiac trips. We passed a colony of blue footed boobies and they are just like we have seen in documentaries. They have the most amazing blue feet and the blue comes from little scales in their feet that fill up with water and reflect the colour of the sky. That sounds a bit wrong so I'll have to google it when I get the internet connection again. Then we boarded a bus and it took about 40 minutes to get to the farm. A large section of the road was extremely bumpy and pot holed.
We were no sooner off the bus when we saw our first tortoise. They are amazing. We walked off the track, into the grass to get close to it and while we were standing there, some of us were attacked by ants. Yipes! It is really weird why some people get bitten and others don't. Roy, the Canadian, standing next to me, with sandals on as well didn't get bitten, but I did. Mary had some insect repellant which I rubbed all over my feet. It had DEET in it and was so strong, it half removed my finger nail and toe nail polish. They are now a mess but I just haven't had a spare minute to repair the damage.
Luckily I had a pair of socks in my bag because if the tracks were muddy, we were supposed to be given gum boots to wear. So in typical Pommie fashion, I wore my socks with sandals to protect my feet from any more attacking ants. Nice look, isn't it?
We wandered along the tracks and saw a lot of these fabulous animals. Just imagine doing this and it is only Day 1.
This bloke was trying to "make" it but didn't have much success.
On the other hand, this one was having a lovely time.
We have seen lions mating in Africa and now giant tortoises in the Galapagos. How lucky are we?
Back on the bus, back on the zodiac and back on the ship and a quick shower and down for dinner. The food is really nice and we have our Scenic tables reserved for the 10 of us.
Into bed and we were asleep before our heads hit the pillow. It has been a huge, wonderful day.