The long awaited trip to Galapagos Islands has finally happened. It reminded me of going on an African safari but more. If you are prone to seasickness, do not pick a small boat. I was advised before the trip to choose at least a medium size boat because there are nights when the seas can be quite rough. I chose the Eclipse which is a 48 passenger cruise ship. I normally don’t get seasick but there was one night where I felt queasy and had to ask the nurse on board for some Dramamine.
After the trip, I met some people who were on a 16 person boat and one lady said she was sick the whole week and wasn’t able to enjoy the trip at all. But if you choose a large cruise ship, you might not be able to visit some of the islands because the water is too shallow to get close and taking a zodiac from where they are docked is sometimes too far. After you decide on the boat, you must decide on the season to visit. We chose the wet season where the sea is actually more calm. You have to do a little research and decide when to come depending on what you want to see.
The Eclipse offers two itineraries – the Espanola which visits the southern islands and the Genovesa which visits the northern ones. Both itineraries are offered on a 5-night or 7-night basis. We chose the Espanola 5-night itinerary for our trip.
We flew into Baltra airport from Quito in Ecuador and after a short bus ride to the harbor, we were transferred to the Eclipse. We immediately navigated to North Seymour Island to see a variety of animals we will continue to see at the different islands such as blue-footed boobies, iguanas, frigate birds, sea lions etc.
The Galapagos Islands is where you see evolutioin at work. The islands are close enough together but the iguanas are restricted to their own island. Each species of iguana look different because they have adapted to the different terrain and food available on their island. For example, one species of iguana only eats the fruit of the flower of one specific cacti. Another example is the black colored iguana who developed a long tail so that it can swim and look for seaweed because there is little vegetation on its island.
Today we visited South Plaza Island to see the large opuntia cacti, Nazca boobies, iguanas, and large sea lion colonies. After that, we visited Santa Fe Island to see more sea lions and birds and the special Sante Fe Iguana.
Woke up early to do a morning hike up to Pitt Point on San Cristobal Island where we tried to look for some red-footed boobies.
We then spent the afternoon at Cerro Brujo on San Cristobal Island which is the first place Charles Darwin visited in the archipelago. Beautiful white sand beach where we snorkeled with sea lions.
We arrive at Florena Island’s Post Office Bay where the tradition continues with visitors leaving addressed postcards and sorting through older postcards to deliver at home in person.
Then we got a chance to snorkel with the giant sea turtles.
In the afternoon, we were taken to Champion Islet and Cormorant Point where there is a beautiful lagoon that is home to flamingos and pintail ducks.
Isabela Island’s Elizabeth Bay is the furthest point of the cruise. We visited the mangrove ecosystem that is a refuge for sea turtles.
And then we went to Moreno Point of Isbela Island where we got close to large populations of sea birds on our zodiac.
On the last day, we visited the famous Galapagos giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island before being transferred back to Baltra airport.
It was an amazing journey and I look forward to coming again to explore the northern group of islands soon!