We leave our mobile home alone for two weeks at the Quito airport and make a trip to the Galapagos Islands.
As a highlight during his journey around the world the nature researcher Charles Darwin reaches the Galapagos Islands in 1835. The perceptions he gained there built the base for his later published theory of evolution which revolutionized the picture of the world and human being. With this knowledge in mind we are properly impressed beforehand and spent a lot of time in planning our route. Finally we decide to spend a few days on two islands on our own followed by an eight day cruise.
Early in the morning we fly from Quito to Baltra a former military base from the US army and now the main hub for most of the Galapagos visitors. From there it continues for another 90 minutes by boat and bus to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz with 15.000 inhabitants the most populated island. We continue by boat for another 2,5 hours to Isabela the biggest Island. The sea is rough, the skipper not very trustworthy and more than once we fear about body and life. Short before arrival a 5m wave comes along. Luckily he saw it in the last minute and could barely manage it. However we were happy once we had solid ground under our feet. Puerto Villamil, the only village on the island, is a sleepy town with 2000 inhabitants and we move into a nice hostel. The next morning we rent bikes and start exploring the island. The animal world of Galapagos is primarily made out of birds and reptiles whereby mammals exist only with a few species. As the islands had no contact to mankind for a long period of time all animals have in common that they have practically no fear. First we visit the turtle research center. We are lucky as it`s mating time and we see a lot of action.
We ride along the beach with our bike and see the first water iguanas, red cliff crabs and also a wild giant turtle crosses our way. Thanks to the tropical heat we are a kind of tired after the bike ride and relax with a few cold beers.
Today we`ve booked a five hour tour to the volcan. With 20 other tourists and a guide we walk to the volcan Sierra Negra with the very impressive crater of 10km diameter and further to the volcan Chico. The island is made out of five active volcanos and the lava covers most of its surface. Early afternoon we are back from our beautiful hike.
That was it with Isabela because the sea is very rough and it`s not possible to snorkel and do other beach activities. The next morning we have a similar nightmare back. The sea is not as rough as at it was two days ago however the skipper is very tired and falls asleep frequently while driving with full speed. Finally we reach Puerto Ayora Santa Cruz without damage and check into a nice hostel. We still have 1,5 days left till our cruise starts and there is a lot to do. However in between we always find some time to rest in the hammock. After all one needs holidays from time to time. We make a walk to the Darwin Research Center and gaze the giant tirtles and the land iguanas. Around the corner of our hostel is the local fish market and in between the market-women sea lions and pelicans ask for food. A magnificent spectacle. The next morning we make an excursion for swimming in the beautiful Tortuga Bay with its white and sandy beach.
Then we start the eight day cruise. Our ship the Queen Beatriz is a Motor Catamaran and can take 16 passengers in eight very comfortable cabins. Our guide Roberto speaks perfect English and thanks to his unlimited knowledge about the animals and the formation history of Galapagos the journey is an unforgettable adventure. Several times a day he reminds us to not forget the smile while exploring the islands and we still have it in our face for a long time after. Thanks again man. You are the best!! You may have seen that the headline of this blog is dedicated to you!!
During the night we travel long distances and at day time we go with a Dinghy to several land and snorkel excursions. The guests on board are international and we have a lot of fun with Beverly & Ann from New Zealand, Tracy & Jim from Toronto, Jody & Robin from Australia and others who joined us in between. Every island has its very own character and Roberto perfectly understands to tell a fascinating story about it with coruscating humor and charm. We now know everything about the beautiful and lovely endemic Galapagos rat and other species. Insiders will understand! After dinner the action starts around the ship. Sea lions, and sharks of 2m in length hunt flying fish who crash at the ship`s side in full speed from time to time while trying to escape. The entertainment benefit is better than any movie and we could look at it for hours.
We now let the pictures speak for themselves. And don`t forget to watch the Galapagos movie in the video section.
And all of a sudden our holiday is over. It was an unforgettable adventure. Now we are “back home”. Our truck survived our absence without harm and in the next days we go on to the North of Ecuador. But what we experience there is part of the next blog. Till then. Hasta Luego.