Monday, August 15, 2016

aboard the legend: galapagos islands

I'm not sure that they call the Galapagos Islands a wonder of the world, but to this girl well, I think I'll refer to them as a wonder of the world.

Day 1 was clear full of anticipation. If you don't know what anticipation really feels like google Galapagos Island pictures. Anticipation grew (or turned to anxiety) as we stood in line to board our ship, the Galapagos Legend, and realized that we were the youngest people on our 20+ years. Note to self....ask your travel agent the average age of travelers on your ship. I was shocked by the vegetation of the islands....or should I say lack of vegetation. I didn't realize how dry and deserty most of the Galapagos really is. The afternoon we took an introductory dinghy ride to view wildlife in the mangroves on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island. We saw lots of blue footed boobies and other sea birds. A few turtles and stingrays.

Galapagos Legend, largest ship in the Galapagos fleet

Infamous Blue-footed Booby
Figurite, our dinghy driver
Day 2 brought hiking on the lava island of Santiago Island along with some deep sea snorkeling. Nothing like the first dip in the ocean and seeing a shark...eeeekkkkk! And don't be fooled by the words equator, island, tropical etc....that water is COLD, thanks to the Humboldt current bringing water from the Antarctic! In the afternoon we had another wet landing with more snorkeling. The water was kinda cloudy and hard to see here, but did see several stingrays and lots of species of fish. The famous Darwin finches were all over the island on our hike as well.

Day 3 was one of the prettiest landings in my opinion. I loved the beautiful black volcanic beach of Isabela Islands' Urbina Bay. Here we saw turtle nests on the beach and land iguanas on the hike. It was also the death of a bee in our group, much to the horror of our guide! Afternoon excursions included the longest hike of the trip to Darwin's salt water crater lake looking out into the ocean, it sure was a sight to see. The island was decorated with graffiti believed to have been penned by 19th century pirates.

Urbania Bay - Isabela Island

Land Iguanas

View of the Legend from Darwin's salt lake

Day 4 was filled with creepy crawlies which of course was my least favorite. Espinosa Point on Fernandina Island we saw thousands of marine iguanas which are creepy, primitive looking on land and then they get in the water and take off swimming to really top out the creepy factor. When we found out we would be snorkeling with these freaks of nature we opted to suntan on the deck of the ship instead. The deep water snorkeling in the afternoon was amazing. We saw so much wildlife including fish, eels, stingrays, sharks, sea lions and my favorite.....sea turtles. We got into a real turtle house and there was 10-20 turtles swimming around underneath us!

Marine Iguanas - all the lighter spots are alive, gross

Creepy Crawlies that are out for marine iguana eggs...grosser

Sea turtles everywhere!

 Day 5 we stayed dry. Dry landing on Santa Cruz where our luggage was transferred to the airport for us while we jumped on a bus to the highlands. We drove through what I thought the islands would looks and jungley. We went to a natural reserve for the giant land tortoises. And were they ever slow and huge! They can weigh up to 550 - 660 lbs and live for 200 years! And i can fit into their shell. We then returned to the airport and back to the mainland.

Don't touch the tortoises!

Overall, the Galapagos Islands was interesting and awesome. Due to cost, I probably won't return there, but couldn't be happier about choosing to add it to our South American Itinerary. While we were worried about the age difference between us and the rest of the clientele....we met some really great people and had a blast. Those old folks know how to cut loose!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like it was the perfect addition to your trip!