OAPs [Galapagos cruise Day 1]
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We had a lazy morning as our cruise didn't start until the afternoon (they usually wait for people to fly in). And in fact the first day of our cruise was spent on land. We meet our guide and crew and were introduced to the boat and our fellow cruisers (Valerie & David from France, Peter & Eva from Austria). After a quick lunch on the boat, we were off up to the Central Highlands to visit El Chalto, the Giant Tortoise reserve. We got to see these ancient creatures (some were over 150 years old!) in the wild, which was a different experience to seeing them in the Darwin Centre. They wander round the highlands, chewing away and generaly taking their time. They were a bit fearful of humans and went into their shells when we got too close and hissed at us, which stems from the exploitation of tortoises when the Spanish arrived who slaughtered hundreds of thousands for their meat (it kept well on long journeys at sea).
Before dark we got back to Puerto Ayora and boarded the Flamingo for dinner. The first day's food was excellent: fish for lunch and chicken for dinner, both nicely prepared and served - amazing what the chef could do with the space and facilities at his disposal, he really got our respect! Later in the evening we left the harbour and christ what an introduction to the seas. Amanda and I were sharing a rather unspacious cabin (bunk beds and rooms for pretty much nothing else...that's what you get on 'budget' I guess!) and I had settled down to try and get some sleep when we left....no bloody chance of that! As well as the incessant noise of the engine, as soon as we were out of the harbour we hit the open seas...wham bam, thank you mam! It was pretty damn choppy, and although I didn't feel sick, I knew I wasn't going to be getting much kip. Thankfully its the only night we have where we are sailing, so just had to grit my teeth and get through it....