Galapagos Islands

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.

Silver Galapagos

Silver Galapagos

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.

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Photo courtesy of Marlene who came all the way from Switzerland to take it

Landings were either ‘wet’ or ‘dry.’ our first adventure was a dry landing and a hike to the top of Bartolomé.

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The Galapagos Park Service has installed a boardwalk and stairs to reduce erosion.

388 stairs

388 stairs

Panoramic view from the top

Panoramic view from the top

Sometimes we just explored the coastline by Zodiac.

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I believe that this formation is called Bishop's Rock

I believe that this formation is called Bishop’s Rock

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).

Galapagos Hawk

Galapagos Hawk

Some other critters we saw on the hike…

With a nice view back toward our ship.

Darwin Lake, a perfectly round saltwater lake

Darwin Lake in the forground, a perfectly round saltwater lake

A sea lion waiting for us at the end of our hike

A sea lion waiting for us at the end of our walk

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.

Complete with treats, music and disco ball

Complete with treats, music and disco ball

We had a small veranda which was perfect for relaxing between adventures.

Knitting a Seahawk shawl

Knitting a Seahawk shawl

Wine with a view

Wine with a view

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.

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An adult and a juvenile Blue Footed Boobie

An adult and a juvenile Blue Footed Boobie

Galapagos Flamingos

Galapagos Flamingos

Hike down to a deserted beach

Hike down to a deserted beach

The beach was definitely worth the walk

The beach was definitely worth the walk

Nice spot for a self-indulgent photograph

Nice spot for a self-indulgent photograph

The food on board was quite good with an interesting Ecuadorian influence.

Emma, the Head Chef

Emma, the Head Chef

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.

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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.

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This next photo is a nice transition from reptiles to birds.

Coexistance

Coexistence

and of course Sea Lions…

And, finally some Sally Lightfoot Crabs…

I can’t imagine a better spot to celebrate my 70th birthday!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Next stop: Cuenca

Next stop: Cuenca

 

Comments

Galapagos Islands — 4 Comments

  1. Loved the turtle photo at the beginning with grass in its mouth – the green really sets the picture. My trip also saw the west part of Isabela – new to me. Thanks for sending the link.