Category: Galápagos Islands

Coastal Exploration along Isabela Island

June 30,2018 … day 2 on La Pinta

We completed our first night on board with a nice sit down dinner in the ship’s dining room.  No photos … fatigue had the best of me.  There will be ample food photos as we get into the week 🙂  Breakfast this morning was served outside on the top deck.


During the night we had motored to Isabela Island and the first activity of the day was a Panga tour of the Coast. Let me digress to explain how each day’s activities were scheduled. We were given a briefing the night before and shown slides of the terrain for hikes, as well as other pertinent information. There were usually one or two longer hikes offered, and perhaps snorkeling or kayaking. For those of us not up to climbing or walking on rocky paths, the guides offered a Shore Walk along the beach. We still saw most of the wildlife seen on the longer hikes. Panga tours were given when there was no hiking, or as an option instead of other water activities. There was no rushing to sign up for your choice … with 48 passengers and 4 Naturalist Guides, they were always able to accommodate the entire group. 

Sisters -Amy and Claudia ready to head out for their adventure.  So cute 🙂


The first thing we spotted once we got we got close to Isabela was a cliff side full of baby alligators  Oops, those aren’t gaters, those are Marine Iguanas.  


The iguanas would entertain us throughout the trip. Next up was a large, sleepy Sea Lion and one of many many colorful crabs:


It took some some time to get used to spotting the birds perched on the rocks. These Brown Noddy Terns were all around, finding interesting places to land and even to build their nest. 



More Blue-Footed Boobies …



Some more Marine Iguana action. And no, there is no hanky lanky going on, just a friendly pat on the back as the larger guy moves past the smaller one to hop into the sea. 



And some more Boobies. But these pretty birds are called Nazcar Boobies. (Oops, as Laurie pointed out, this is a Nazca Booby … not a race car driving booby.)



Claudia and Catherine, mesmerized by all the new things we are seeing.


We were a little surprised to find a male frigatebird out here all alone … pretending to be a blue-footed booby.


And, a close up of one of the gorgeous crabs … love their patterned shells  


What a great Panga Tour!!!!  It is hard to convey the feeling of being out in the ocean, in such a remote area, seeing species we’ve only read about. Awesome. (For Olivia … OPAF)

Click HERE to see if we have even more fun on our next adventure.

Coastal Exploration – North Seymour Island

June 29, 2018

Oops. I almost forgot about the Panga ride we took while the serious hikers were traversing North Seymour Island. 

First, a view of the hikers doing a dry landing and starting on their hike:



This first Panga ride was a chance to practice spotting wildlife and taking photos from a moving boat. Many of the birds and animals were quite well camouflaged.




We spotted male frigate birds up on the cliff, their bright red chests in various stages of puffer-outedness (perhaps not an official birding term). 



A view of the landscape … I get so excited by the wildlife  I forget to capture the overall look of the place.  Lou is generally better at getting those photos.


Bob from Washington State had an eagle eye and spotted a land iguana on the rocks. Well done!


We also saw Galapagos Fur Seals … they might have been Galápagos Sea Lions, but they have wider heads and more pronounced ears so I think they are Fur Seals.


We saw many colors and types of volcanic rock throughout the week, with varying types of vegetation:


Here we have Swallow-Tailed Gulls


And some colorful crabs hanging from the rocks


After surviving our our first Panga ride, we returned to the ship. I will have photos later that show how we get on and off the Panga’s, but it involved pulling up to the stern or side of the ship, and stepping out onto the deck. There were always at least two crew members to assist. 

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Map of our Galápagos Island Cruise

Some might find it helpful to see a map of our destination. We did a 7 Day/ 6 Night Cruise through the Western Islands. This popular route generally hits 11-12 from the list of the BIG 15 species people want to see in the Galápagos. 


We started on Baltra, then stopped at North Seymour. On to Fernandina Island (misspelled on the map),then Isabela, Rabida and Santa Cruz. We visited Floreana before returning to Baltra. 

Click HERE to see where we go next.

A Note about the Galápagos Trip Blogging

We made it home yesterday, and all is well in Northport. Our bags were delivered this morning, so not too bad. 

I have started posting about our trip … so please scan back whenever you jump on the blog, as I’ve already covered Quito and our arrival on the ship. I am including the date of the actual events at the top of each blog post. I hope to finish all the posts in the next few days, so I can get back to finishing blog posts about our last Alaska trip (blush/face palm). 

Also hoping to get some of my fellow travelers to include a guest blog describing the adventure from their point of view. 

My intention is to post all of the photos on my Smugmug site, and will post a link at the end of the trip report. Hopefully Lou will provide his photos as well.  (Edit added 10/09/19 – I say the same thing every trip, and have yet to follow through in a consistent way.  I’m making good progress  so don’t give up hope!)

Thanks for following along!

Click HERE to continue the journey

It is Time – to go to The Galápagos Islands!

June 29, 2018

Wake up calls at the Hotel Gangotena started at 3:30am (depending on whether or not one planned to curl their hair and apply makeup before breakfast at 4:30am; I got up at 4:25am).  Two busses loaded 48 passengers for the hour ride back to the Quito Airport.

The Quito Airport is new and modern. Check in went smoothly, and we had a short wait at the gate for our 4 hour trip to the Baltra Airport on the Galápagos Islands. The plane stopped once for fuel and passengers.

Upon landing, a 5 minute bus ride took us to a small port where we took a Panga ride to our boat … the Yacht La Pinta. Note -a Panga is a rubber sided dinghy, like a Zodiac.

A young Galapagos Sea Lion (or Fur Seal) was excited to see us off, and we saw more wildlife on our short ride to La Pinta.

We safely transfered ourselves off the Pangas and onto the ship. More information on the ship can be found here: Yacht La Pinta

We were met with welcome cocktails and given a brief overview of the ship and the day’s activities.  After a buffet lunch, we participated in the mandatory safety drill and got acquainted with our life vests. Our rooms were nice.  Lou and I had a queen sized bed, while Catherine and Olivia had twinlets (slightly narrower than twins).  Both rooms had a decent sized bathroom, and a floor to ceiling window.  The accommodations were more luxurious than on our previous UnCruise Advemtures.

Catherine, Olivia, and Claudia opted to take the first off-boat adventure, going for a hike on North Seymour Island. Amy and I both had bum ankles to deal with, so we were nervous about twisting them on the rocky terrain. Lou came on the trip knowing his land activities would be limited due to his recent knee replacement. 

The ladies returned, glowing with excitement at the fun things they had seen. I hope to entice Claudia to share some of her wonderful photos and videos of this first foray into the midst of Galápagos wildlife.

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