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South American Adventure

Galapagos, Days 1 & 2

UNITED KINGDOM | Friday, 28 October 2011 | Views [304]

25/10 – The adventure begins! After a hectic last few days before going (renting flat out, moving our stuff out, finishing last minute paperwork which of course is unforgivable but typical me), we woke up early, caught the DLR to City airport fully loaded with rucksack and a small backpack each + snorkelling gear. The first flight took us to Amsterdam where we had wait a couple of hours for the next leg – KLM to Panama city. I foolishly thought the flight would be dead but it was rammed full of South Americans, an Indian or two other than us and strangely a Muslim couple, Burka and bearded fellow, who lived out there! Flight was ok, watched Senna and El Bulli docu-films. Swita watched some Bridesmaid film which made her happy somehow. Got to Panama at around 5pm local time. Next flight was at 10.30pm so got some kip. Panama to Guayaquil took a couple of hours then spent over 10 hours at the airport there. Swita made us a nice nest here we both kipped safely though the night although we did tie the rucksacks to our legs just to make sure no one nicked em. Next morning at 10.50 we got the flight to Galapagos Baltra on another flight - 3 hours later phew finally made. Longest journey in our lives, approx 36 hrs in total. Felt ok though surprisingly. From Baltra we got the bus,ferry,bus combo (free, 0.80c, $1.80) to get to Puerto Arroya on Santa Cruz Island. Interesting changes in vegetation observed along the way. Within a matter of a few miles we went from thorney scrub to trees with no leaves to trees with moss then full on long pampas grass and greenery everywhere and back down the town on the other side. When we made it into town it was approx 3pm so we walked around for a bit to find a reasonable hotel/ hostel. Found a nice one called Los Amigos for $10 each, shared bathroom and bog. Had a cold shower and headed off to enquire about cruises and excursions. Didnt book anything so went to a restaurant called Irelande for dinner. I had Cerviche for the first time, quite nice really. Jaiden would love it as its very lemony/khatu. Swita had prawns n chips. Saw frigate bird, Pelican close up and sea lions in the harbour – amazing cos animals don’t give a toss about humans here. Decided to book a 2 day/1 night trip to Isabella Island. Felt much better now but knackered. Not helped by local team Barcelona of Guayaquil (only 1000km away) playing another team from Guayaquil – these folk are mad about football and the celebrations went on for ages. 27/10 Woke early, 6.15. Quick breakfast in Irelande which was a weird ball of corn with an egg, not bad. Got speedboat boat with a dozen other people and saved a women (later to be a adopted mum) falling down through my lightening quick reflexes. After a bouncy and wet 2 hour ride we got there and saw our first wild penguins – the only ones to live anywhere near the equator but this place is like that, full of surprises. Then went to Los Tintorrenas which is where we walked across lichen covered lava fields that had lots of marine iguanas. One spat at me the cheeky so-and-so (they do it to clear the saline that builds up), scared the shit out of me ‘cos I was up close taking a pic. Swita found this very funny. Further along we saw red crabs and sea lions. Scenery is amazing, turquoise lagoons, powdery white beaches, lava fields with a backdrop of volcanoes. Also did snorlling there and swam with turtles including one huge one we swam with for 5 minutes. Also sea lions came to check us out (they are very playful and inquisitive) – all of this literally a hands length away. Next we had lunch including popcorn in soup – weird but nice! Then spent time on gorgeous beach with penguins flying around in the water – they are mega quick!! After we went to a tortoise breeding centre which was cool, they seemed strangely aroused at seeing Swita in bright pink outfit and moved (very slowly) towards her lol. We both touched a big one which must be 150 years old or so, they can live for way more than 200. Isabella has 5 of the worlds 12 species of giant tortoise. Unfortunately human impact has devastated the wild population and the young get eaten alive by rats ,cats and dogs as the shells are soft. Lots of them at the centre thought and they say they will release them once big enough (in about 25-50 years). Then went to a flamingo lagoon, not bad but once you seen Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha its nothing. After that we said bye the people on the trip and got dropped off at Hotel Jungle, $20 pppn. Fab place, 2nd floor room with 360 view of volcanoes, and one of the best beaches I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot of nice beaches). Absolutely no one on this 4 mile beach. Went for a swim in big waves, did some bodysurfing while Swita showered up and got ready. Then got ready myself and we went for a long walk on the beach, witnessed amazing sunset then into village Puerto Villamil for dinner. Had a 3 course meal including half a Lobster and a drink for $10 each –mega bargain! Saw the milky way stretched out across the sky before hitting bed and writing these two days. Apologies for the excessive use of superlatives like "amazing "(but it is – so far) and this is way too long for a dairy/blog – no doubt I will tire of this as the days go by and will be about a sentence long by the end in 103 days time. Also Ive never written a diary before but I have to on this one cos my memory is pants. Time for bed. Climbing the volcano tomorrow with the 2nd biggest crater in the world!!!

Tags: beaches, birds, penguins, sea lions, sunset, tortoises, turtles

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