Out to the Islands.

Misahualli Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 17 › view all entries

After another day in the forest we then make our way back to Puerto Maldanodo for our flight to the Galapogas Islands via Quito. We fly into Baltra Island.

Also known as South Seymour, Baltra is a small, flat island located near the center of the archipelago that was formed by a series of uplifts of submarine lava, resulting in flat plateaus. The island was of little interest to humans until the 1930s, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited .The US government was looking to establish an air base in the Pacific to protect the western approach to the Panama Canal.

Construction of an airbase began in February 1942 and within two months a mile-long airstrip was completed. With time, associated infrastructure grew to over 200 buildings, including barracks for 1,000 soldiers, hangars, office buildings, an outdoor beer garden, a cinema, and even a bowling alley.

At the end of the war, the United States turned the base over to the Ecuadorian government, which offered each head of household in Galapagos one of the buildings. Many carefully deconstructed their building to provide building material for their own homes on both Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal. Ecuador used the base to establish their own airstrip in Galapagos, with the first commercial flights arriving in 1963. Today the island continues to serve as an official Ecuadorian military base, with bases for both the Navy and the Air Force.

We take a bus to Aeolian Bay to pick up our boat and meet our guide for the Island Trip. Our boat is fresh from a refit and has just arrived from Guayaquil on the mainland. The boat is still dirty,sawdust and the detrius of the work are still all over the place. The bed in my cabin has an outboard motor laying on it and we are not happy campers. 

Our guide does not work for the boat company,he is an employee of the National Park. He negotiates with the crew who are full of excuses as to why the boat is in such a state. A call to The company in Quito brings us promises of compensation and after a meeting with the rest of the passengers we decide to sail as scheduled in the morning with the crew working through the night to clean up the boat as much as possible.

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photo by: Paulovic