Galápagos, just fantastic – Day 247 (17302 miles)

We decided to book one way flights to Baltra, and organise a last minute cruise in Puerto Ayora the main town on Santa Cruz island to give us a better chance of getting a deal.  The tour agents showed us details of some nice fancy boats with availability that were at least double what we wanted to pay.

Karl who we met in Mindo had already tipped us off about a 16 berth catamaran called Solitario Jorge which although basic was clean, relatively new and the food was good.  So we got an 8 day cruise on that boat leaving within a couple of days.  In addition to the cruise we spent 4 nights on Santa Cruz and 2 nights on Isabela which gave us time to see a good selection of land and sea wildlife and the varied landscapes throughout the islands.

Whimbrel

Lava Lizard

Marine Iguana

Galápagos Sea Lion

Greater Flamingo

Galápagos Dove

Is it just me or at a quick glance does it look like John has his hand on his neighbour’s knee?😂

Stingray

Blue-Footed Booby

Magnificent Frigate Bird

Swallow-tailed Gull

Galápagos Penguin

Bryde’s Whale

John thought better of sitting next to this sea lion after it let out a roar/snarl of disapproval when he got a bit too close.

Galápagos Land Iguana

Blue-footed Booby and chick

Galápagos Sea Lion

Juvenile Sally Lightfoot Crab

Grown up Sally Lightfoot Crab

The only underwater photos we took are below and are stills from video footage on an old GoPro.  Not the best quality but gives an idea of some species we saw.

Pacific Green Sea Turtle

Blue-Chin Parrot Fish

Razor Surgeon Fish

Eagle Ray

Sea Lion

Humans😊

Galápagos shark (have been known to bite!)

Bad pic but that is a real Hammerhead Shark!

Us!

That’s our boat on the right.

Our fellow passengers, 8 nationalities and a fun group.

How excited was I to see the Giant Tortoises!

Above and below is the Sierra Negra volcano crater, the 2nd largest in the world at 10km wide.

We did a hot sweaty 16km hike into this amazing landscape.

 

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The following images are ones that didn’t make the Editors cut (Because she’s bossy).

I have been given permission to add them so everyone can hopefully get the feeling we did. It’s bloody amazing in the Galapagos!!

Regards, down trodden photographer….

Onwards in Ecuador – Day 232 (17302 miles)

So, a new country, our first impressions after crossing the border were, wow these roads are good and…

double wow look at the scenery.

We headed for the town of Ibarra to do a few errands then on to a campsite at the nearby Laguna Yahuarcocha.  On Saturday nights the campsite owners organise a BBQ for anyone who wants to socialise, it was a nice opportunity to chat to others who had already “done” the more southerly SA countries and pick up some tips.  In fact a Swiss couple made a very valid point when we expressed some concern that we’d be hitting Patagonia in early winter if we carried on at our current rate of progress. We had intended to just head south and see everything we wanted on the way.  Instead, if we stick to our     plan until we have finished Bolivia but then travel down to Patagonia without stopping for extended periods, we can make it there in the Autumn then afterwards head north again to explore Argentina and Chile.  Quite obvious really but we needed someone else to point it out to us!

The is also a motor sport track at Yahuarcocha, it is used for occasional competitions and individuals can pay $25 for some time on the track, I was keen to get Juanita out there, just for the photo opportunity really.  John was not so keen, oh well.

We headed southwest to Mindo a small town in the foothills of the Andes.  It is popular for birdwatching and exploring the cloud forest, quite jungly but cool due to the altitude of 1300m.

We went on an early morning bird watching walk and spotted toucans, parrots, kites, woodpeckers and many smaller colourful birds.  Unfortunately we didn’t capture photos of any wildlife apart from…..

A small flock of twitchers.

The plants and butterflies were easier to photograph.

We had some great times with Karl a Cornishman who has fallen in love with Ecuador but not enough to leave Corwall behind permanently.  We look forward to meeting up again sometime in the future.

On our way to Quito we stopped off in the area of Mitad del Mundo which is a tourist attraction based around the Equator.  However, it was a Sunday and looked very busy, there was an entry fee and the actual Equator is a few hundred metres in a different direction so we decided not to go in.  Instead we took the GPS for a walk.

Here is John in a not very scenic but authentic spot on the true Equator.  Not sure if there was some weird atmospheric thing going on but John’s hair was doing some strange stuff!

Next stop Galápagos😎🐢😊x