We spent half of our day traveling to the Galapagos Islands. Flying out of Cuenca at 8am put us in Guayaquil at 8:30. We left Guayaquil at 10am and landed on Baltra Island at 10:45 – thanks to the one hour time difference between the islands and the mainland (flight took 1hr 45min to cover the 1000km distance).
So our day one was really just half a day, but we saw a lot.
The airport for the main island of Santa Cruz is located on a small island north called Baltra Island. There is a bus that took us from the airport to the southern coast, where we boarded a small ferry to take us to Santa Cruz Island. From there, we traveled 42 km to the small town of Santa Cruz.
Today we saw:
- tons of marine iguanas – they are the black ones
- one land iguana (fairly uncommon to see in the wild – there are a number in captivity here on the island) They are pretty meaty looking. I hope we get to try some… The one in the picture is probably 3 feet long and was really thick.
- two sea lions – they were taking shade under the deck outside of our hotel
- one seal – who found his little piece of heaven feeding at a small fish market in town
- at least 25 pelicans at the fish market who gave the lonely seal a run for his money
- more than 30 geckos (Drew counted)
- a number of the famous blue footed boobies, the magnificent frigate bird (real name) with bright red throat pouch along with numerous other sea birds. Of course we saw finches – they are everywhere.
- We stopped to swim at a beach which had cool black volcanic rocks. We heard reports of a huge sea turtle further out by a couple who rented a kayak.
Tomorrow is pretty packed. We hike into the highlands of Santa Cruz island, visit two volcanic craters, go tortoise hunting and hike inside of a lava tunnel that is 20 feet high. In the afternoon, we sail to Floreana Island – an island with just 125 inhabitants. The snorkeling is supposed to be great – and there is a chance that we’ll get to swim with penguins. We’ll see. We won’t post tomorrow. Floreana Island doesn’t have internet, so we’ll hopefully be back online when we get to Isabela Island on Wednesday.
Here are a few pics from the day. We’ll cover this comprehensively once we get back to the Andes.