Monday, July 30, 2012


Santa Cruz Island:Bus ride to see......,not Farmer Sue.....

 ...but the incredible Giant Galapagos Tortoises!!!!!
 They look so wise and have such cool textures on their legs and shells.
                        And,from the front,they look like E.T.!!!
Our home for the next 5 days,the beautiful Archipell II...

 ...and our amazing Galapogas born-and-raised Tour Leader,Luis Becerra.
       His passion for his islands is unmatched. We learned so much about the     Galapagos from him.
         Visit to the Darwin Research Center...this are young ones.

 Too bad my suitcase was not bigger!These are gorgeous carved gourds.

 We were watching a fisherman cutting up his catch,and this Boobie actually attacked me!OUCH!!!Look at the size of that beak!Guess he thought I was going to take his dinner.
 Our ship's crew,in their dress whites,introducing themselves the first night
Isabella Island: During our stay,we saw many many 100's of these Sally Lightfoot Crabs...they are everywhere!!!

Bizarre and other-worldly rock formations

My first Marine Iguana...but as you will soon  see,NOT my last!

                              Lava land hikes to walk ahead on this path?!?!?!VERY carefully!Here in the Galapagos,animals are afraid of nothing:neither humans nor other species!

We were able to get up close and personal with many many sea lions,like this little guy ,blissfully napping away

                           Bathing Beauty!

Sea lion flipper

WHAT did you say???

 I took lots of pix of these crabs,since they are so beautiful against the black lava rocks

This guy had made himself home on an unused fishing boat1

This was wintertime in Ecuador,thus the water was NOT the optimal temp for snorkeling...about 70o give or take a few degrees either way. That,for this kid,is hypothermia!!!!!So I wore a wetsuit...and will NEVER snorkel again without one!Actually,the last 2 times,I wore TWO wet suits!

No Photoshop needed!

 We used the sun deck mostly for resting betwen excursions and stargazing.
                                 Flag of Ecuador
Seeing Flamingos in the wild was very cool...

obviously they are getting lots of shrimp in their diets!

                                  Nature walk

Saw some great wall art...

                               Giggling girls sharing a secret
 Several of us had drinks at this little bar,with the surf crashing all around us
                Luis,all tired out from playing football...
                          ...with some of the crew and the locals...
            I took this photo for my best friend,Mary Sue,who is a Juice Plus           National Marketing Director: look at the size of this grape!!!
 These panga rafts were our means of transportationn off of the ship
Long volcanic wasteland hike

                                  Lava "ropes"


                          ...pelican bones!

The Galapagos is home to the cutest little penguins!!!

Notice how little the penguin is compared to the iguanas!

These Marine Iguanas look extremely prehistoric when they are swimming.

Sea lion and friends.

We zipped underneath our ship one day in the Panga! I also later kayaked under it. Cheap thrills!

 Yummy cold fresh fruit juices often awaited us after several hours out in the sun.
                           Ahoy Matey!
                          Blue-Footed Boobies
Galapagos reflections

 Remember Erik Estrada???!!!This is his cousin! For sure! Luis,a wonderful crew member.
Thank God for these wet suits!

Beautiful sunsets are a given

 Who would have thought to put popcorn in your soup?!Suprisingly yummy!
                             Getting ready for an uphill hike

And you thought I was exaggerating when I said 100's of these,right???!!!

He's ticked that we imposed upon his little blue  grotto!

I was thrilled to be able to kayak here.....

...and I got up close and personal with this little one.

                                  Fernandina Island
Luis doing his iguana impersonation

                        Iguanas iguanas iguanas!!!

                               Gollum again
that's our ship in the background

A good punk rocker look

Treading very carefully

They were all spitting sea water out of their mouths,seemingly at us!

Luis telling us about the Sally Lightfoot crabs

VERY surreal to see this many iguanas at once!

So how brave am I?!?!?

Let me just add that this does NOT smell good up this close!

Whale bones on volcanic rock

                               More boobies...

 We had a little Equator crossing party,after going into the bow with the captain to do a countdown,just like on New Year's Eve!. Some folks missed the photo,so the captain backed us up a few feet and did it over again!Wild!
I only saw one of this Frigate birds with his red sac all swelled up,for mating...but he was very beautiful!

 Captain and crew,once again in their whites. Sigh...something about men in uniform!Farewell toasts by all.
Our last sunset.

On our last morning,about 1/2 of us got up at 5:30 to join Luis for a last Panga ride and shore exursion...

                Huge sea turtle tracks to their nest from the sea
Much to everyone's delight,our Luis found us a gigantic flock of Blue Footed Boobies to see us off!We were thrilled when seemingly thousands flew over us!

 The sign at the airport reads:" On June 24,2012,we witnessed extinction. Lonesome George,the last Giant Pinta Tortoise died." We missed seeing George by a couple of weeks.
 On our very last night,in Quito,OAT puuled a very class act by taking us for a wonderful farewell dinner at a great folk art museum.I love these figural pots...
                     ...and these funny faced pots as well.

 Another real shrunken head. Note the braids of hair coming out of the mouth.
Folk art necklaces,right by our dining table.

It was a delicious and very fun evening. Except that Luis,our fabulous guide, was getting very sick,poor guy.Thank you,Luis,for making the Galapagos come alive for all of us.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my God Sue! This is just amazing! What an increible experience! This is definitely going on my bucket list!