Category: Galápagos Islands

Lunch at the Finch Bay Galapagos Resort & a City Tour

July 3,2018 – Lunch at Finch Bay 

Our busses dropped us back at the dock, where we had just a short Panga ride to get to the Resort. While waiting for our ride, we watched a little sea lion and his mother put on quite a show. The Mom hopped up on the platform, and junior tried every which way he could, but couldn’t quite make it up. Finally, he succeeded, and then he literally dove into Mom for some lunch. 


There were quite a few boats anchored around the Port, as this is the starting point for many tours of the islands. 


Water taxis …


We had to walk about 10 minutes once we landed to get to the Resort. We all made it, even those of us who were not so agile. We saw more Marine Iguanas, some swimmers, and lots of tourists along the way. 


We we were told to make ourselves at home and enjoy the bar and the pool. We were also served a nice lunch.  


Lou had a mojito, and I had a refreshing gin and tonic. We had to be careful to avoid blocking the tv screen, because the World Cup was on. 


After lunch, some took a refreshing swim, and the rest of us lounged around. There might have been some napping involved. 



Our expedition guides and ship’s physician psyching themselves up for the rest of the day’s activities:


This was a pleasant respite, but it was soon time to head back into the town for shopping or a City Tour. Lou and I chose to take the City Tour.  It was difficult to take photos from the bus, but we both found the tour very interesting. One of our expedition guides who lived in the city, gave an informative tour. It wasn’t just what we saw, but his description of political, cultural, and infrastructure issues that made the tour interesting. 

Olivia shared a drink from her giant fresh coconut before we left on our bus  






This is the M/V National Geographic Endeavor II … it also comes highly recommended.  This ship is larger than The one we were on, with about 100 passengers.


Back on La Pinta, we sampled the drink of the day. We had had a very full day, and finished up with a buffet dinner before calling it an early night. 

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Climbing to the Highlands to See More Giant Tortoises

July 3, 2018 – Day 5 continues

While waiting for our transportation out of the Darwin Research Center, we had a cold drink and visited with Nancy. We walked a short distance and had the chance to visit a small outdoor market  



The rest of the group caught up with our VIP tour, and we all boarded comfortable busses for a 45 min drive up to the highlands. Our destination was Rancho El Manzanillo, a private ranch that allows tours to see Giant Tortoises in the wild. They also have a nice open air restaurant, and a gift shop that is operated in cooperation with the Darwin Research Center. 


(Photo source: El Rancho Facebook Page)

The hiking trails were fairly easy, and well covered by shade trees, which was welcomed in the high humidity.  Giant Tortoises were all around. Look closely and you can see the Tortoises ahead on the trail. They were also in the fields to the right and left.







Taking advantage of a buddy to provide a pillow –





Have a look at the Giant Tortoises on the road … we had to stop the bus several times to wait for crossing traffic. 


It was time for lunch, but first we had to make our way back to the dock with another bus ride down the hill. 

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Visiting the Charles Darwin Research Center

July 3, 2018 – day 5 – part one of a special land adventure

We all looked forward to today’s visit to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. We were going to the Charles Darwin Research Center, home to many Giant Tortoises. Fernanda, one of our expedition guides, was very kind and set up special transportation to make sure Lou could visit the Research Center. There was a lot of walking involved to get to the Center, but our guides arranged for a taxi that could take us past most of the walking. This also worked well for another passenger, and we enjoyed getting to know Nancy. Daniel, the lead expedition guide, accompanied us and gave us our own special tour. 


The starting point of the tour is a rather somber place. Lonesome George, the rarest of all Giant Tortoises, is kept in an air conditioned room.  Lonesome George, you see, is no longer with us. He died in 2012, after living an estimated 100 years. George was then sent to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he was “stuffed” and returned to the Research Center. George was the last known of the La Pinta Giant Tortoise species, and was considered the rarest creature on earth during his last few years. You can read more about poor Lonesome George here.


( ^^^ Photo source … the above wiki link about Lonesome George)


We then walked around the Center, observing and learning about the different species of tortoises. The habitat is designed to look very natural and includes several different enclosed areas, where natural breeding projects are in progress.

One of the first areas we saw was the nursery, where there are many baby tortoises, just a few inches long. These will be returned to their natural habitats when they are old enough.


A couple of smaller toroises do a stand off … Daniel explained this type of fighting is won by the guy who can raise his head the highest:




There was an abundance of birds around, mostly finches:




Frisky Tortoises


Ran in to a couple of folks we recognized:


After our informative tour of the Research Center, we loaded into busses and took about a 45 minute ride up into the highlands.  The plan was to see the Giant Tortoises in one of their natural habitats.

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The Rest of Day 4 on La Pinta

(Apologies for the delay in postings … had to catch up on my gaming today 🙂 And I have our annual Golf Tournament this weekend which is a fundraiser for the local Mammography Center )

July 2, 2018 – day 4 aboard La Pinta

We chose the Shore Walk for our afternoon activity. Setting off to Cerro Dragon on Santa Cruz Island, we were told we might see Flamingos. We made a dry landing upon natural made lava steps … kinda cool. 







We watched the crabs scrambling along the sand, and one of the larger ones planted himself over a rock to await the incoming tide:




Marine Igauna .,, making tracks





The pensive, but well-dressed, explorer:






The young fur seal shown above was waiting for us when we returned to catch the Panga. It wasn’t the best excursion in terms of new wildlife seen, but it was very pleasant. We all just sat at the lagoon, reflecting on what we’d seen to date, and enjoying the quiet.  We hadn’t seen the American Flamingo in the lagoon, but we might have another chance before trip’s end.

We returned in time to sample the drink of the day


And enjoyed another very nice evening meal. 

This completes Day 4.  Stay tuned for Day 5, as we set off the boat to enjoy more of the surrounding islands. There is a rumor there might be giant tortoises involved. 

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An Ecuadorian Feast

July 2, 2018 – a very special lunch

Lunch was preceded by a Ceviche cooking demonstration. I did not attend, but found out Claudia assisted Chef Darwin in making the ceviche. 

Oscar, the ship’s hospitality manager, gave an intro before lunch describing the local specialties we would be enjoying. He even dressed in traditional Ecuadorian style, as did the other crew members. The centerpiece of our luncheon was pork and it was delicious, as was everything. 





Lunch was followed by a nap or a naturalist presentation. The afternoon activity was a Shore Walk on Santa Cruz Island … stay tuned. 

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Rabida Island … Are we on Mars?

July 2, day 4 – morning activities 

Rabida Island was our destination as soon as breakfast ended. This Island looks much different than previous landing spots … with dark red soil and a brackish lagoon. 











Catherine shared photos from the long hike, showing the views from higher up, as well as some interesting vegetation. 









After our our hikes, we had the option to swim or snorkel from the beach. I gave it a try, and the water wasn’t nearly as cold as I thought it would be. 



We returned to the ship before lunch, hoping to get some rest before the afternoon adventures  began. 

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