Ecuador, Galapagos and a new found love of boobies.....

Galapagos Islands Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 31 › view all entries
So, we left costa rica and set off for Quito, the capital of Ecuador, the flight into the city is a revelation in itself as Quito is situated on a high plateau surrounded by peaks and well developed, so that you have ( what I would call) typical colourful housing reaching up the mountainsides. We jumped in a taxi to our first location in the old town ( where we were staying). Its a bit odd here, its so high that for the first day or two you cant quite catch your breath and the simplest physical task is exhausiting, so we decided not to push it and not do much !! ( im quite good at it you know!). So we expolred the old town a  bit and the new Mariscal area ( this is where all the bars are and is the dodgiest part of quito. We saw at least one snatch and grab and are keeping a close eye on our stuff.. of course the simplest option is go out without any stuff, then you cant be scared of getting robbed ! EASY!.
Anyway after chatting to some other chums in the hostel, it seems clear that people come to Ecuador for two reasons, to climb a bloody great mountain ( please see my comments about being in high places earlier) or to go on a crusie to the Galapagos, well on sATURDAY LUNCHTIME, WE THOUGHT,  "HANG THE BUDGET AND LETS GO FOR IT" ! ( sorry caps lock on) !
So we found a reputable travel agent ( not easy) and had a mad last minute rush to get the boat and the flights booked for the next day ! suffice to say we managed it ( well , we have not actually paid yet) and sunday morning at 5am we were off to the GALAPAGOS ( capitals are meant for emphasis here).
I wont bore with too many details but it really is everything you expect it to be, the animals really are that tame , the scenery is that good and the snorkelling is out of this world ! we were on a 12 berth catamoran ( I guess thats how its spelt) called the Nemo. On board were a good few other "last minute" passengers and some honeymooners. we had 8 days and 7 nights on the boat visiting loats of the islands and learning about the wildlife from our tempremental guide Juan Carlos. As far as i could tell, if ever you didnĀ“t know the name of an animal, choose the thing it most looks like and just add the words Galapagos, Darwin or lava before it and you are well in. ( hence Lava lizard, Galapagos dove, Darwin finch etc) There is not that much variation on species ( to the untrained eye) but after swimming with turtles and sea lions ( cor, do they stink) you dont really care ! personal highlight for me was having a school of dolphins follow the boat doing all that jumpy out of the watery stuff.. aaaahh magic !
there were of course down sides, the smell had already been aluded to but was IMMENSE !! so was the existance of DEATH everywhere ( approx 1 dead sea lion seen to every 5 living ones) but I guess thats the circle of life for you ( insert shitty elton john song here !)
Plus sea sickness (which I luckily escaped) did claim some of the passengers and since Ive been back the subsequent land sickness is even worse ( its like being really drunk with the room moving but you are not at all drunk !!)
Speaking of drunk, we did a good job on the boats bar, the bartender ( Jonathan, god bless him) even had to take the panga (small motorboat) over to another cruiser to "borrow" beer as we had drunk the boat dry after two days !! good effort !
Of course Galapagos is famous for the Giant tortioses, but this was probably the biggest let down as they can only be seen in  a breeding programm ( read zoo) which  is a bit sad, so  wont dwell on it.
WE left after a stonking last nights Party where we again cleared out the well stocked bar and then after another 5am start ( owch) we headed back to Quito. There was some drama at the airport as our tempremental guide ( he spent a lot of the time on his mobile , i think he was having woman trouble with one of his three ex wives) took unction at the low tip given by one of the couples and threw it back in their face in front of the group ( very unprofessional) but after he calmed down a bit was VERY apologetic ! (I guess the threat of loosing his licence for unprofessional conduct was in the air !!) so it all blew over and after another delay at the airport we arrived back inthe lung challening capitol ! Our next step ( after recouperating and when the world stops spinning) is to work out where to go next.... ahhh its a hard life !!!!!
ps.... the blue footed booby is an indigenous bird ( like a seagull) that does a really stupid mating dance we were lucky enough to see.. cue 7 days of booby jokes !!!

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Galapagos Islands
photo by: Melboorn