Friday, May 8, 2009

Back from Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

I now know why they call this the "Number One Natural History Destination!" What a stupendous place and experience. I recently returned from this great trip with the nine other enthusiastic travelers. Everyone had a great time, and I am sure will rave about the sights, sounds, volanic landscape, close encounters with wildlife, and so much more for years to come. Make sure this is on your bucket list!

Most of our group spent the first three days in the Ecuadorian highlands, with many hummingbirds (Booted Racket-tail...OMG!), tanagers, toucanettes, and even more exotic species than one might immagine, but that is a story for another time. On to the Galapagos!

We departred the mainland and after about a two hour flight got our first glimps of the island from the air with its rugged volcanic coastline, black lava, and patches of torquoise sea. Land of Darwin, Giant Tourtoise, Flightless Cormorant, the most northern penguins, sealions, and all that we as kids remember from National Geographic Magazine. It was all here.

After much waiting at immigration and a short panga ride to in the harbor of San Cristobal, we arrived at our home for the next week, the very comfortable MY Letty. What a great boat and crew who instantly started to take care of us with food, drink, information, and unequalled kindness. We were kings and queens in paradise!

We motored for a short way to a nearby cove and beach for our first birding and swimming. Both were wonderfully welcoming with great views of Blue-footed Boobie, Galapagos Sealion, our first of Darwin's finches, Galapagos Shearwater, and White-vented Storm-Petrel. Outstanding!

Enjoy the photos and I will post more about the trip in the coming weeks. Hope you enjoy it.