After three nights in Quito we boarded a plane for the Galapagos Islands, about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. The archipelago consists of six larger and several smaller volcanic islands lying on or near the Equator. Home for the next seven days was the Silver Galapagos, an expedition ship of the Silversea Cruise Line.
Charles Darwin spent six weeks here in 1835 studying the wildlife and, as a result, wrote The Origin of Species which became the foundation of evolutionary biology. I dare say that the Silver Galapagos was a bit more upscale than Darwin’s HMS Beagle.
Every activity involved transport by Zodiac.
Landings were either ‘wet’ or ‘dry.’ our first adventure was a dry landing and a hike to the top of Bartolomé.
The Galapagos Park Service has installed a boardwalk and stairs to reduce erosion.
Sometimes we just explored the coastline by Zodiac.
At a landing at Tagus Cove on Isabela Island, a Galapagos Hawk didn’t appear to be perturbed by these strange creatures invading his territory. The ‘graffiti’ in the background is from sailing ships that have used this cove for shelter since the 1800s (but is no longer allowed).
Some other critters we saw on the hike…
With a nice view back toward our ship.
Even though the cruise dates didn’t exactly coincide with my birthday, the crew must have known. So after our morning adventure, we came back to find this courtesy of our cabin stewards, Enrico and Xavier.
We had a small veranda which was perfect for relaxing between adventures.
There were several opportunities for snorkeling. The ship provided wet suits and we took our own masks and snorkels. In all, we had four of those waterproof one-use cameras. Unfortunately, none of the pictures turned out very well but here are a few just to prove we did it.
Floreana Island was a ‘wet’ landing.
The food on board was quite good with an interesting Ecuadorian influence.
If you have made it this far, the rest of the blog is all about the critters. First set, the Galapagos Tortoises which are found nowhere else in the world.
After giant tortoises, the next most unusual species on the islands is the Marine Iguana. As fierce as they appear, they didn’t seem to want to eat any of us.
This next photo is a nice transition from reptiles to birds.
and of course Sea Lions…
And, finally some Sally Lightfoot Crabs…
I can’t imagine a better spot to celebrate my 70th birthday!