Darwin Lake, Isabela Island
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
15 Days In The Galapagos Islands
Our overnight sailing brought us to San Cristobal Island.
Today was the last day of the second of the three itineraries on our trip and the first day of our third, and final, itinerary. This afternoon we would have all new shipmates to share our last few days. There is an airport on San Cristobal, and that's where the exchange of passengers would take place.
But first, really early this morning, we took the Zodiacs to the small islet called Isla Lobos which is known for an abundance of sea lions. Lobo is Spanish for "wolf", but sea lions have often been referred to as "sea wolves" or "lobos marinos".
Our Zodiac drivers and guides had to shoo the sea lions off the steps and path because walking around on the lava rocks was just too dangerous for some of our group. Even then, in typical Galapagos fashion, we had to step over and around some of them. The animals here just aren't frightened of humans.
We did a very short walk where we saw a few Frigatebirds with chicks, a Blue-footed Booby with a chick, and a couple others sitting on nests in the middle of the trail.
But mostly, this stop was about the sea lions. Young pups were everywhere.
With the high concentration of sea lions, this was our smelliest excursion thus far, and flies were thick on and around the animals. None of that really bothers us - it's nature - but I point it out for those that might care.
Here's a short video to convey the sights and the sounds .... but not the smell.
It was still quite early in the morning, but the rest of our group had to catch a plane so we needed to move on. In order to get to the Zodiacs, the sea lions once again had to be coerced off the path.
In the photo above, you can see San Cristobal Island across the channel. A group from our sister ship was snorkeling around Isla Lobos this morning rather than taking the walk, and I thought that would have been a good opportunity to swim with the sea lions. Ah, but we would have our chance later.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
Back on Domenica, it was a very short ride to the harbor of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galapagos Province and the second largest town in the islands (behind Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island).
Our crew and guide shuttled the other passengers and their luggage to the dock, and made sure they were transported to the airport.
Linda & I were shuttled over later, and we walked around town a little bit and watched the antics of the sea lions in the harbor before finding an internet cafe to check our emails and upload photos.
These transition days between itineraries have certainly been our least favorite parts of the trip, but they have given us the opportunity to see the towns (although it's not really our thing so we don't explore much), take care of some administrative tasks online, and relax a little on our boat while waiting for the next group of passengers to arrive.
Sometime in the early afternoon, our new shipmates boarded while we were reading in our cabin. We introduced ourselves at lunch.
This group was more international as we had a couple from Australia, a couple from Germany, two couples from opposite sides of Canada, two young ladies from Hong Kong, and a single guy from Lebanon. Most of the people that left this morning (our second itinerary) were from the U.S. with one couple from Canada and one couple from Switzerland. On the first itinerary the first few days, there were only six of us with the other two couples being from Canada and Spain.
After the new folks got their ship briefing and went through their safety drills, we boarded the Zodiacs and went back into town where we caught a bus that took us on about a 45-minute trip over to the southeastern side of the island.
This excursion was to introduce the new guests to the Galapagos Giant Tortoises at a breeding center. Only at the end of the first itinerary did we get to see them in the wild. The last two groups would only see them at breeding centers, and since this would be our third visit to a breeding center, we considered not going.
However, for these last few days of our trip, we have a new guide, so we wanted to start getting to know him and the new passengers.
Giant Tortoise Breeding Center
We arrived at the David Rodriguez tortoise breeding center and walked the trails. We helped our new friends spot the tortoises and identify the birds flitting around.
I have to admit that I wasn't listening during what was our fourth lecture on the giant tortoises. But I tried very hard not to be disrespectful or a distraction since it was everyone else's first time.
This group was much more enthusiastic about everything than the prior group, so we knew right away we were going to have a great time with them.
We also quickly learned that our new guide, Christian, is much more laid back than our prior guide, Myra. However, she was a higher-rated guide, so it would be interesting to see how Christian's approach and knowledge might differ.
Back on the Domenica, we enjoyed the sunset as we pulled out of the harbor and set out for our next destination.
So, Day 10 was not a particularly memorable day. Don't get me wrong, every day in the Galapagos is wonderful, but compared to the other days, these "port days" are lower on the scale.