Showing posts with label Isabela Island. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Isabela Island. Show all posts

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Life in the Galapagos

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Oh, you know… just your every day sea lion
"sawing logs" while you wait for the local water taxi.
Everywhere I turn in the Galapagos, I am entertained by the wildlife that is in abundance here on the island of Santa Cruz.

The first day we pulled into the harbor, we were greeted by sea lions that were all too anxious to make our acquaintance.  We saw over-sized pelicans ready for any scraps that the fishermen would throw at them down at the pier, and large iguanas in quantities I didn't care to count.
We took a stroll through the Charles Darwin Research park and saw turtles and tortoises, birds and even more iguanas.
I am enchanted by the quaint little town of Santa Cruz.  All along the harbor, the artisans sell their goods.  The restaurants are unbelievably good and well-priced.  The every day atmosphere is laid-back and there seems to be more people on bikes than in cars.  Your typical beach town.
Everywhere we go, we are greeted by, "Hello, have a good day" or "Are you having a good day?"  The people are so friendly and warm and we feel quite safe.  In fact, Lily and I went on a long walk last Saturday and mothers with their children would come up to greet me and walk with me as I went to visit the local market that was filled with fresh produce, loud music and dancing.  Now how is that for local hospitality?
You just need a little fly swatter to shoo away the
flies from getting on the meat.  That's all.  
As Martin and I were strolling the streets this evening, I remarked at how quickly we have come to know each of these towns and cities that we visit.  We seem to be able to fit into the rhythm of our lives, while taking in different landscapes, people and cultures without blinking an eye.  It takes us all of two days to figure out where the best markets are located, where the best hair stylist is found, and where to find a good electrician.  I even map out where to go to purchase the best kinds of keepsakes to remember my time in each place.  Of course, it helps having David and Sue around since they have been to all the cities we have visited and have, in essence, already "staked out the place".

On the island of Santa Cruz, we have stepped into island living with ease and feel as if we have lived here for much more time than a mere 6 days.  I have started to wave at the same people that I see daily and have found my favorite stores to shop.  However, we are already feeling the tug of the Pacific and are preparing for our long journey.
This has been an interesting and busy week for our family while AMARA rests in the harbor of Santa Cruz island.

We started the week off by going to a little island called, Isabela.
All the benches had these little messages on them.  I loved it.
Isabela island is this quaint little beach town, where you can see that the lay of the town is being built up using only natural elements from it's own landscape.  Take this light pole, for instance.  They are made of natural drift wood.
The area down by the beach was also done in recycled wood, making it welcoming and unique.
We strolled down the boardwalk and saw the children at play living in all they have ever known.  Oh, to be so lucky.
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We sure are glad to have Meredith join
us for this part of our trip.
When we arrived on the island, we were picked up by buses which quickly shuttled us to our first stop… to see the pink flamingos...
The way it was described by everyone we talked to before going was that  we were going to see THOUSANDS of flamingos.  Instead, Martin said we saw ten.  I am sure there were more… somewhere, but not where we went.  Still, they were quite elegant and indeed very pink.  We loved watching them stand there and make the the perfect poses for us to click away on our cameras.
The next day we went on a hike up into the highlands to see the volcanos and walk on lots of lava.  This hike was a bit interesting because our guide was none too pleased to see a child on the trek, let alone one that can't walk.  Before the hike began he said to me, "this is a VERY difficult 11-mile hike, we're going to be slowed down by having a child on the hike."  My first thought was, "Well then why didn't someone tell us this while we were booking the hike?"  My second thought was, "Oh, he doesn't know who he is dealing with now, does he?"  I let him think that I was unfazed by his comment, but inside, I was slowly steaming.  Martin could have skipped up the trail backwards, and Meredith did the climb in flip flops and I stoically carried Lily on my back up the whole way without a complaint (which is HUGE for me).  We were "hardly" a burden.
The only caveat was that Lily only wanted her mom to carry her; making my load a little heavier.  Really though, who can resist this face?
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So we saw the "volcano" and touched the lava and got our money back after telling the tour operator that the guide was not so happy to be 'guiding" that day and left it at that.  We still had fun.  We were together and that was what mattered.

After our trip up the mountain, we went on a tour to see more iguanas, finch's, the famous blue-footed boobies and even more iguanas.  I have finalized my opinion on iguana's… "Those things freak me out! "  They were everywhere and blended in so well with the lava that every step I took, I didn't know if I was going to step on an iguana.  Finally I just said to Martin, "Can we be done with this part of the tour?"
The famous "Blue Footed Boobies"
I love this picture of all the "mothers" having a discussion at the water's edge...
The only place in the world where penguins can be found north of the equator.
The highlight of the trip was swimming with sea turtles and sea lions.
This little guy was such a scene stealer.  Before we got in the water, he would swim back and forth showing all of us how well he could swim and ready for us to come in and play with him.
I love this picture of Martin snorkeling and unaware of his little friend following him.  When I tell Martin, he turns around and immediately loses all focus on me and starts playing with them.  Martin turns into a little boy when he is in the water with sea turtles, sharks and sea lions.  I could hardly get his attention from that moment on as he just wanted to swim around and play with them.
Pretty soon, the LONG day had to come to an end and we headed back to our AMARA.  In the Galapagos, everywhere you go, you have to take a water taxi.
It's a very sleek system and we love the convenience of just having to call them on our VHF radio and they are at the boat within 5 minutes ready to take us to and from the boat into town.
Today we are going to go to Turtle Beach which is known for it's flour-like sand and beautiful landscape.  Even better, you can snorkel and see more sea lions, sea turtles and if we're lucky… sharks!
We plan to take off on Saturday for the Marquesas, hopefully I can post one more time before we leave off into the big blue ocean.

Disclaimer:  Internet is poor and the writer is tired from all her adventures.  I apologize if there are any typos.  I have to write fast before the internet goes down or my head falls on a pillow.  I sure hope you are enjoying our adventures!
Don't forget to follow us on our map that we have provided in the right navigation bar.  It should be updated hourly.  The numbers underneath the sailboats are just indicating different data points.  You can click on the boat and it will point to where we are exactly in the Pacific.  It should be fun!