Posted by: tim ellis | December 29, 2008

Galapagos – Wednesday 9th July 2008 (Baltra – South Plaza – Santa Cruz)

I am collected at 05:50 by Estevan to go to the airport to start the journey to the Galapagos. There is a separate baggage x-ray for all hold and hand luggage before you start, and a 10$ immigration card to purchase. There are 8 of us flying from Quito to join the Cachalote, including Carol and Jeff, who have been joined by their friend, another Tim. The others are Hubert & Jane from Monmouth, and Lynn & Cody from Canada.

The flight stops in Guayaquil for refuelling (during which we are instructed to unfasten our seatbelts), before proceeding to Baltra, where our guide, Franklin, is waiting for us. We gather the rest of the party here (some had joined the flight in Guayaquil, and some had arrived earlier and stayed overnight in the islands). There are 14 in total, the others are Chris & Avery from the US, Christopher and Christiane from Germany and Lotte and Michael from Denmark.

It is a short bus ride to the harbour, then a zodiac transfer to the Cachalote, a small but well appointed motor-yacht. We sail almost immediately, taking lunch on the way to South Plaza Island, where we see sea-lions (one young one inconveniently lying in the middle of the landing steps), Sally light-foot crabs, land and marine iguanas, lava lizards, swallow-tailed gulls and nazca and blue-footed boobies. Some of the group report having seen a whale, so it’s back to the Cachalote to head out and look for it. We see a very clear blow and some big splashes, but don’t get close enough to identify the species.

We anchor off Porto Ayora before dinner, but we are all too tired to head in to town to sample the nightlife!

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