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Colin and Sue’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 19 Sep 2006

Location: Islas Galapagos, Ecuador

MapWe had a wonderful time in the Galapagos Islands. We had a 7 night cruise on board Gap Adventurer Two aka Cruz del Sur. We visited 7 islands, all quite different from each other, and saw loads of animals and birds. Sea lions were the common theme, so at first we photographed lots but later they had to be especially small, cute or playful to merit a photo. The animals really are tame, to the extent that you have to be careful not to tread on the iguanas sunning themselves on the path or the sea lions on the steps as we left the boat.

We saw everything we expected including blue footed and masked boobies, waved albatrosses, flamingos, lots of different finches (key to Darwin's theories), great and magnificent frigate birds, pelicans, tropic birds, land and marine iguanas, lava lizards, rare Galapagos penguins, sea turtles, sharks, rays, eels and not forgetting the giant tortoises (which were great). As a bonus we also went whale watching in the dinghies and followed two humpback whales. We were also apparently very lucky to see some very rare hybrid iguanas although to us they looked pretty much like the other iguanas.

The highlight for us was the marine life, the snorkelling was brilliant with exceptionally clear water (although it was also quite chilly deep water snorkelling). We saw lots of fish of course, but also had penguins and sea lions swimming around and up to us and saw sharks, turtles and huge manta rays and stingrays swimming beneath us. We also had a panga (dinghy to us) ride among the mangroves with pelicans and boobies diving for food and rays, sharks and turtles resting on the sea bed.

Life on the ocean wave was fun too. The boat takes 16 passengers with 7 crew. We were lucky to have one of the two cabins on the top deck with proper windows rather than the others down below with just portholes. We were also very lucky not to be seasick, the sea was quite rough at times and on two nights about a third of the other passengers didn't make dinner. We felt we could get quite used to having a beer on the sundeck watching the sun go down and looking out for whales and dolphins.

Back in Quito now and off to Lima tonight. We've really enjoyed Ecuador and could have stayed longer as there's lots more to see and do. There's some fantastic scenery and walking, the people are friendly, the food is good (the fresh fruit is fantastic and we'll miss our tree tomato juice) so all in all we made a good choice for our first stop. Hopefully, Peru will be just as good.