Ecuador 6


Our intent was to see South America and see it thoroughly, as it is unlikely we will have the life expectancy to take the time and travel like this again, down here.  That is why we are traveling as slowly as we are.  Spoke with my father a week or so ago, and when he found out that we were not visiting the Galapagos Islands, he nearly disowned me.  He stated firmly, that to miss the Islands would mean that our trip would NOT be an all inclusive trip of South America.  He sure knows what strings to pull.  So it was time to find a place to store the bike for 4 or 5 days, arrange an airline flight and make reservations on an exploration type boat.  It was not easy.  The number of visitors to the islands is controlled by the Ecuadorian government.  The $100.00 fee to step on the islands also limits visitors.  We were fortunate to take advantage of somebody's cancellation, and got a cabin on the "Galapagos Legend".  We also rationalized that our vacation to South America deserved a vacation from the vacation.  So on October 3, 2005 we flew to the islands for a rest.  Thanks Dad!



But we learned that 4 days on this boat would include NO rest.  The island landings occurred 2 times daily.  The wake up calls were between 5 and 6 am ever morning.


Seal Lions...
Birds ....
Marine iguanas...

What is amazing is how the various animals, birds and reptiles act as though you do not exist.  You have to walk "around" the wild life, because they do not run away. 


Twice a day, we boarded an inflatable to land on another island for a hike, with a guide that shows you things you would never notice on your own.
The first stop was at "Cerro Colorado" where huge tortoises live.

These things weigh nearly 400 pounds.

These baby sea lions where less than two weeks old.

Once they rolled in the sand, they looked just like the rocks on the beach.

This large sea lion was sleeping on a sea wall within the city limits.

You can get very close, with the only reaction of maybe a wink from the guy.

October 4, 2005

 

After a wakeup call at 5:45 am, breakfast at 6:00 am, the boats are prepared for your 7:00 am departure.

No resting on this 4 day journey.  They keep you busy every minute.

The "Red Footed Boobie".

A large portion of the guides talks regarded the isolation of the Galapagos Islands and the theories of Charles Darwin and evolution.

Totally relaxed.......
Unusual red eye lids.
The islands are littered with wildlife.

At first, I was not 100% sure that I wanted to go to the Galapagos, but it is a magical place.

This brief cruise, was, in itself, a trip of a life time.

A nursing baby.

The mother would open her eyes every 30 seconds or so to make sure you stayed 4 or 5 feet away,

Inflatables were coming and going and the sea lion could have cared less!

Oh, and they did not care about cameras 4 feet from their faces either....


You could be standing on the rocks, and have a bird land 4 feet from you, shake his feathers, and then nap!
It is a real "Kicked Back" environment for the wild life.

They do snore.

A "Red Footed Boobie".

On October 5, we landed on another island littered with Marine Iguanas.

They would look at you, but they would not move, therefore you had to step around and over the iguanas.

Sun bathers.
Three feet away, and there is not an iota of fear.

This guy couldn't bother to open his eyes.

The island of Espanola had it's own blow hole.
A Blue Footed Boobie.

I am not a "birder", but the history of the various species was very interesting.

There were about 75 passengers on the boat. 

The crew member count was 59.

And they were working all the time to assure that you stayed busy.

Launching the inflatables for another island landing.

Although the boat was built in 1963, I still wanted to see the engine room.

Spoke with the captain, and found out he went to school in West Covina, California.  Only 3 miles from where Sandy went to school.

Back in 1968 he did not want to get drafted for Vietnam, so he returned to Ecuador and joined the navy.

After talking to the captain about California and Satellites ( I retired from the Hughes Satellite Division), I popped the question about an engine room tour.  He responded that he would talk to the chief engineer and get back with me.

This is the chief engineer, in the engine control room.

He is responsible for a crew of 11 people.

He allowed me to "Throttle Up" 6,000 HP.

There are 2 V12 engines of 3,000 HP each.

Maximum RPM is 300, but they usually run them at 260 RPM.

The inflatables are stored on the pointed end of the boat as you travel from island to island.

The next island to visit was Santa Cruz, where the "Charles Darwin Research Station" is located.

The Research Center focuses' on the breeding of the species which are nearly extinct.

This was a difficult departure, realizing that it was unlikely we would visit the Galapagos again, and there is so much to see.

So it is back to Guayaquil and the motorcycle, to resume our journey.

 


Again, it has hit me that this is truly a trip of a lifetime!   Hit "Next" to continue.......


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