Galapagos Adventure, June 2001
Saturday, June 2, Fly to Baltra, Galapagos Is., via Guyaquil
(on a verry old Boeing 727-200, but these are still workhorse
airplanes.). Land on a runway built by US forces during WWII to
defend the Pacific.
Met at airport by Paul McFarling, our guide/naturalist for Santa Cruz Island
Tour Santa Cruz highlands, see giant lava sinkholes, lava tubes, a rare sighting of a brown owl and many giant tortoises. Lunch at a nice rustic restaurant, The Narwahl.
Spent night at Hotel Galapagos, dry soaked clothing on lines. Walked around Puerto Ayora with locals celebrating beating Peru in Soccer for World Cup Finals. Nice dinner at hotel.
|We flew to Baltra, Galapagos Is., via Guyaquil (on a verrrry old Boeing 727-200, but these are still workhorse airplanes.). Landed on a runway built by US forces during WWII to defend the Pacific. The airport "terminal" is an open shelter. We were met at the airport by Paul McFarling, our guide/naturalist for Santa Cruz Island|
Our trip from the airport started in a old Ecudorian Military bus (they run the airport). Next we took a ferry to the island of Santa Cruz, which you see in the background. Note the pile of luggage on top of the ferry!
After we landed, we took a tour of the highlands of Santa Cruz by bus.
|There are few land birds in the Galapagos, as most can not fly all the way from the nearest land, about 600 miles away. Most of the birds are finches. The finches have adapted to the Islands well. They have evolved into many varieties. One has a long beak that can get in between the spines on a cactus. Another acts like a woodpecker. The strangest one you'll meet later. This is a young ground finch near his nest.|
|On our first walk, we saw a rare spotted owl. Like most of the animals in the Galapagos, he was not afraid of us humans. Finding him during daylight was unusual.|
|As we walked past him, he watched us carefully.|
|After lunch at a neat local restaurant called Narwahl (for the whale), we went tortoise viewing on a private ranch. They were easy to find on Santa Cruz.|
They are not shy. You can get very close. Sometimes, you can get too close, however, and they will lunge at you.
You must remain a bit away - the park rule is "no touching"!
|This handsome dude weighs about 500 pounds!|
|After the tortoise viewing, Paul took us down into a "lava tube" formed when hot lava solidified on the outside but remained liquid on the inside. After the liquid lava flows out, tubes are left. This one was over 20 feet high!|
|After our Saturday tours, we ended up in Puerto Aroyo, a small port town on Santa Cruz (but the largest town in the Galapagos!) It had a beautiful harbor as you can see from the pictures below.|
Karen and I used some free time to hang our our damp clothes to dry, take a walk and celebrate with the locals as Ecudor had just beaten Peru in soccer!
After a nice dinner at the Hotel Gapapagos (hidden in the trees in the first two pictures and the last picture above - our cabin was the one in the second picture in the sequence) we were ready for an early bedtime!
Sunday, June 3
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