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Galapagos

Population: 25k (UK = 60m)
Area:
45,000sq km (UK = 245,000)
Famous for:
Untouched wildlife, and inspiring Darwin to realise the theory of evolution in 1835.
Cost of a can of Coke in a restaurant: £1.60
Weather in June:
Warm 28'C day, 26'C night. (Sea water, only 20'C!)
Local food: Salty! Chicken, fish and unpalatable soups.
Flight cost: £620 to Quito.

14 days.
1 week on a boat around the islands then 4 days diving from Santa Cruz island.


Day 1: Quito (in Ecuador... via Madrid). 24 hours without a bed landed us in the capital, Quito.

 

 

Day 2: To Galapagos Islands.
Bachas beach, Santa Cruz Island

Join the others on the boat and our first sighting of the marine iguana and a taste of snorkelling.

 

 

 

 

...then snorkelling with sealions and turtles...

 

Day 3: Puerto Villamil, Isabela island

Tintoreras iguana kindergarten

 

 

...then visit
giant tortoise breeding centre

 

 

Day 4: To Punta Moreno Lava fields, Isabela Island.

Lava flowed over this site 50 years ago.



You wouldn't want to fall on such sharp rock...



Then to snorkelling with flightless cormorants who were fishing...

 
 

...and then to climb a little hill at Tagus Cove...

Day 5 : Fernandina Island - Espinosa Bay

Snorkelling with marine iguanas...

...and playful baby sealions...

Marine iguana and heron

 

Then onto Punta Espinosa passed some Mola mola (ocean sunfish)

  Cloudy snorkelling but turtles a plenty. And a killer cormorant.

Day 6: Espumilla beach, Santiago Island

Galapagos hawks galore...

 

...feeding on the ghost crabs

 

 

 

Blue footed boobies diving for fish

Playful seals (not sealions). Hunted to near extiction
by Norwegians in the 1900's for their fur.

 

 

Galapagos Lava Snake

 

Day 7: Rabida island

 

Chinese Hat island

Sealion kindergarten

Snorkelling with penguins!

 

 

Day 8: Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island

Back to civilisation. The Charles Darwin research centre, where Lonesome George, the last of one sub-species of giant tortoise lived until a few months ago when he finally died aged somewhere over 100 years old.

 
In the queue at the fish market...

Lava tunnel

 

Day 9: North Seymour Island

Male magnificent frigate bird trying to attact girls...

 

Male blue footed boobie...
...showing off his feet for the girls

 


Land iguana
Baby sealion

 

Day 10: Bartolome Island

Now off the the boat and staying in Puerto Ayora. We took a boat trip to Bartolome Island.

A dolphin came to play in our bow wave, leaping out just for fun.

 

 

Luckily where we snorkelled was too shallow for the killer whales...

...which is good as they tend to snack on penguins and Michelles

 

Day 11: Diving at Gordon Rocks

One of the few places left in the world you can see hammerhead sharks. Strong currents meant hanging onto the rocks to avoid being swept away.

 

 

Galapagos shark

School of barracuda

 

Day 12: Diving at North Seymour

Easier conditions than Gordon Rocks, but no hammerheads. However, white tip sharks galore and a fantastic overfly by a squadron of mobular rays to finish off some great but chilly diving.

 

School of white tip reef sharks

A squadron of mobular rays (small manta rays)


 

Day 13: Return to Quito, Ecuador.
Day 14: Llama ride 4,000m (13,000ft) up Mount Pinchincha)

Not really... we took the cable car up and then paid 50 cents for a touristy picture with the llamas...!