Arriving in the Galapagos

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno Travel Blog

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It is their beach...

We landed on San Cristobal Island, at the time the main port of entry to the Islands, as the main airport on Baltra was being renovated (now completed).  Formalities were pretty quick, as the administrative stuff had been taken care of by the tour company.  A quick jaunt through town by minibus brings us to the "landing;" a set of concrete steps ending in the harbor.  A small fleet of Zodiac boats awaited to take people to their respective boats.  Bags were, thankfully, handled separately.

We were aboard the Galapagos Explorer, at 100 passengers, one of the largest ships in the islands.  I found it interesting that the ship had begun life in the Carribean in the 1960s--an area now served by ships 20-30 times as large as the Explorer!  Visitors planning a trip should consider what they are looking for in a ship or boat.

  If you are prone to seasickness, I recommend considering larger ships like the Explorer.  They still sway in the seas, but much less than the smaller sailing boats (10-20 passengers).  I think a smaller boat would be very intimate and exciting, but not if you get seasick.

We also met Ramiro, our expert guide, who also became our friend.  All Galapagos guides are highly trained in local flora and fauna, and all can enhance the experience.  But Ramiro took it to the next level, just a wonderful fellow.  He now works the M.S. Polasis, another of the larger ships, operated by Lindblad/National Geographic tours.  Worth booking with them just to meet this young man.

Lunch is served while the luggage and final arrangement are being made, and at some point during lunch we got underway.

  After a short sail of an hour, we stop for our first landing.  A sandy beach on the west side of the island, teeming with sea lions.  Within minutes, we are on the beach with the sea lions, who are completely unimpressed with our presence.  Many of us choose to go swimming among the sea lions.  Of course, you cannot touch or bother them (not that you'd want to--their teeth and quickness look quite formidable), but it is at this moment that you appreciate you are in a place unlike any other in the world.  We spend several hours on the beach swimming, observing the sea lions, the frigate birds and the boobies.  I go looking for my first Darwin's finch.  Great way to start our trip...

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It is their beach...
It is their beach...
Sea lions after lunch.
Sea lions after lunch.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
photo by: Riz7