SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

LAST DAY IN GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS. SANTA CRUZ IS THE LARGEST INHABITED ISLAND. THE WEATHER DIFFERS FROM THE OTHER ARID ISLANDS VISITED. SANTA CRUZ RECEIVES FREQUENT RAINFALL AND IS LUSH.

IT’S HOME TO THE LAND SEA TURTLES RESCUE SITES. THESE MASSIVE CREATURES LIVE ON LAND AND SPEND TIME COOLING OFF IN MUD PONDS. ITS REPORTED THE CHARACTER OF ‘ET’ FOR THE MOVIE WAS A RESULT OF A STEVEN SPIELBERG VISIT. WE SAW YOUNG AND WELL AS SENIOR CITIZEN TURTLES. AS WE WERE LEAVING WE ENCOUNTERED 2 JUVENILE TURTLES WALKING ON THE ROAD AWAY FROM THE CENTER. 


GENOVESA ISLAND

STEEP CLIMB TO A ROCKY PLATEAU SUMMIT OF AN EXTINCT VOLCANO. VERY LARGE COLONIES OF NAZCA BOOBIES, RED FOOTED BOOBIES, BLUE FOOTED BOOBIES AND GREAT FRIGATE BIRDS. WE WERE LUCKY TO OBSERVE A SMALL OWL, THE ONLY REAL PREDATOR ON THE ISLAND. 

IN THE MATING SEASON THE GREAT FRIGATE BIRDS EXPAND A RED BLADDER ON THEIR CHEST TO ATTRACT A PARTNER.

BIRDS DISPLAYED NO FEAR AND WERE EVERYWHERE AND WERE CURIOUS OF VISITORS. WHILE WALKING YOU HAD TO AVOID STEPPING ON JUVENILES. imageimageimageimageimage

BLACK BEACH

WE WADED ASHORE FROM A PANGA ONTO THE BLACK VOLCANIC SAND OF SANTIAGO imageimageISLAND. THE SEA LIONS AND FUR SEALS JUST MOVED A LITTLE FURTHER DOWN THE BEACH TO ACCOMADATE US AND THEN CAME WADDLING BACK TO WATCH US. WE HIKED OVER LAVA ROCK TO THE SUMMIT OF THE ISLAND. GREAT VIEWS AND ALONG THE WAY: MARINE IGUANAS, GRAY HERONS AND MORE SEA LIONS.

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GALÁPAGOS DAY 1

SETTLING IN. LEARN THE RULES OF THE SHIP. WITH 90 PASSENGERS SANTA CRUZ II IS ONE OF THE LARGER SHIPS AND LESS AFFECTED BY WAVE ACTI. THE PASSENGERS ARE FROM ALL OVER, ENGLISH, DUTCH, JAPANESE, FRENCH, AUSTRALIA, SPANISH, PERUVIAN AND AMERICAN. 

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THE AFTERNOON BEGAN WITH A LIFE BOAT DRILL, THEN A PANGA RIDE TO BACHAS BEACH OR SANTA CRUZ ISLAND. THIS IS A MAJOR GREEN SEA TURTLE NESTING AREA. WHITE POSTS DESIGNATED NEST LOCATIONS AS FAR AS THE EYE COULD SEE. BLACK LAVE ROCKS WERE COVERED WIITH LARGE RED CRABS. BLACK MARINE IGUANA WRE EASY TO TRACK. THEY LEAVE LONG DRAG MARKS WITH TRHEIR TAILS ON THE SAND. PANGA RIDE MORNING NEAR BARTHOMEW ISLAND THEN A GLASS BOTTOM BOAT FOR THOSE NOT SNORKELING. 

CLOUD FOREST

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageA CLOUD FOREST IS WHERE THE CLOUDS DROP BELOW THE TOPS OF THE DENSE FOREST VEGETATION CINGING TO THE ANDES MOUNTAINS. WE STOPPED AT THE RIM OF AN EXTINCT VOLCANO. THE RICH SOIL AT THE CENTER OF THE VOLCANO IS NOW BEING CULTIVATED FOR FARMING. 

THE CLIMATE IS MODERATE TEMPS WITH RAIN ALMOST DAILY. THE FOREST IS ALIVE WITH HUMMING BIRDS AND BUTTERFLIES. MOUNTAIN STREAMS FED FROM MELTING GACIERS WERE BEING USED FOR TUBING. WITH THE WATER TEMPERATURE AT 50 IT WAS WAY TOO COLD! 

QUITO IN THE RAIN

LOCATED ON THE EQUATOR, QUITO WAS CONSIDERED BY THE INKA INDIANS THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE BECAUSE IT WAS CLOSEST TO THE SUN. THE INKAS BUILT MANY PLAZAS AND TEMPLES IN THE AREA. THE SPANISH CAME SEEKING GOLD AND CONQUERED THE NATIVES. THEY PROCEEDED TO TEAR DOWN THE TEMPLES AND BUILT BEAUTIFUL CHURCHS AND BROUGHT CATHOLICISM TO EQUADOR. 

AT 9300FT. MARGIE OPTED FOR A DAY OF REST. A DOCTOR MADE A CALL TO OUR HOTEL AND PRESCRIBED SOME MEDS AND OXYGEN TREATMENT.

WITH OUR GUIDE I TOURED THE CITY AND VISITED THE EQUUATOR MONUMENT. 

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INTERESTING GRAFFITI
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ON THE …….