Saturday, June 22, 2013


The photo book of Ecuador (Galapagos in a separate book)- this one has the Amazon and the Highlands with Otavalo.

Friday, June 21, 2013

nearing the end

of our Galapagos Island journey- we went to the Isla Los Lobos (sea lion island) where the dry landing was on a set of stairs cut into the rock- LOL and completely inhabited by the sea lions who found it a good spot for sunning themselves! But first there is another kayak and snorkeling foray for those who desire to do so- the number dwindles again as many are tired of ridiculously early wake up calls and some have blisters from a hike up to the top of the muddy volcano -in rented rubber boots that didn't fit quite right- two mornings ago. 

the active members of the group returned and we headed around a rock formation and bird sanctuary before going to Isla Los Lobos-

and here are the steps "owned" by the sea lions! LOL

from this location we head to Santa Cruz Island where there actually is civilization- bars, restaurants and hotels (real hotels not just hostels) along with paved streets and markets for produce etc... a cemetery and the Charles Darwin Center for Research.... a veritable metropolis.

we arrive shortly before dinner and a panga is offered to take anyone who wishes to go into town to have Internet access over from the anchorage in the bay- there are no takers- luggage out at 6:30 AM the next day so most everyone just got themselves packed up and ready for the transfer in the morning.  The four Dutch people are moving to a hotel for a couple of nights (the package they picked)- the NY four and the two of us are all leaving for the airport- and the six Wisconsin related group were in to the bitter end having bought the  week on board trip versus the five nights we chose....

the following morning we left the ship and said good bye to the crew and went off to the Research Center for a quick trip (same things here as in the turtle preserve we saw on the other island) and then took the car to the ferry to the bus to the airport for our plane back to the mainland and Guayaquil, where we would stay for a single night (mostly to catch up on email and business stuff) before heading home via Panama City to Chicago on the last day of May.

so final photos from this journey (I think)

captive land iguana for those who never found one in the wild (we were lucky enough to see a half dozen of them)

memorial plaque to Lonesome George the world's most famous giant tortoise who died last year in his prime breeding years (they did not know how old he was only that he was the last known tortoise from his island of birth - the DNA is different for each island tortoise population.)

a group of males - one of whom is being assaulted by another - and he was NOT happy and kept trying get away - poor guy!

the local cemetery was right by the entrance to the Center-

and two final photos- one of our ship on the water showing the catamaran hull-

and the last one- somewhat in response to regular questions- this is a shot of my shadow which shows me holding my camera-

I am often asked (most recently two days ago) what I use to shoot the pictures I post- and this shows it- a small pocket camera that takes up no space or weight and is always either in my pants pocket or hanging around my neck - every one of the photos included in this blog from the Peru and Ecuador trip were  taken with this camera-
yes I have a digital SLR and multiple lens but I rarely use them (the Africa safari trip being a notable exception) - I find I am completely comfortable with the capabilities of this pocket sized camera. BUT - this is a "magic camera" as my husband and I always joke.  Years ago a woman who worked at my office and loved seeing my travel photos asked me if I had a "magic camera to take such great pictures?"
so yes, in a way I do have a magic camera - this is the SONY RX-100 with the largest image sensor available in this small size.  it can be used in fully manual mode or fully automatic (mostly what I use) if also takes videos (see Amazon parakeet video link in prior posts) and since it has 20MP I can shoot a photo and select a small segment later for inclusion here or in my photo book.  Pricey but worth the luxury of not having to lug around the weight and bulk of my SLR gear - and it is always with me on any trip- any time--- the huge image sensor allows night time shots like the one with the stars from our ship that showed the southern cross....
sorry if I sound like a commercial- this camera as been with me for Bolivia, Colombia, the Nordic Capitals, Copenhagen, New Zealand, Sydney and now this most recent trip... you can find all the photos of these trips - all taken within the last ten months - on my travel photo website-
photo books of each of these trips are located on the front page left hand column - in the reverse chronological order--- enjoy the travel via armchair if you want (same disclaimer about Flash and iPads as usual) --- happy travels to all!

Floreana Island and Los Lobos

Floreana Island was the first island settled in the Galapagos by European settlers - and their numbers were few- just three families and their soap opera tales of lovers and intrigue... all the stories were related to us in our evening lecture the night before arriving there...

among the most famous sites on Floreana Island is the de-facto Post Office. Located in a barrel, allegedly sailors began the tradition of leaving messages there for those back home which would then be picked up by other sailors who would carry them back to the home country with their departing ship.  Today the tradition gets carried on by folks leaving postcards in the barrel which other tourists then take home and mail in their state or region of the country.

the beach nearby where we saw another sea lion having fun in the water!


and more crabs on the rocks except here we saw their crab tracks on the sand-

a hermit crab in a purloined shell-

the ship from a distance- and when we returned we had lunch outside on the bar deck - BBQ! a nice change from the chafing dishes of buffet food--- the red sausages were especially good (paprika infused) -

and then a beautiful sunset as we headed to our next anchor spot (this time before dinner) - and spotted a Nazca booby and some other birds as we set sail-

the next post will cover the last of our Galapagos journey- so keep reading....

blue footed boobys and pink flamingos

before we are off to our next island let me add a few photos of things we saw while anchored off a beautiful red sand beach for some of the group to kayak-

they bring the kayaks around and tow them to near the shore where the kayakers do a wet landing and then get into their kayaks and paddle back to the ship-

the winners in the kayak race return and are helped into the ship-

meanwhile those of us (half the group) who stay on board see some birds and water life- pelican, sea turtle, shark, frigate bird and booby-

a view of the magnificent color of the beach-

so our next stop after a long night traveling on the water (try getting up in the middle of the night in the dark and finding the bathroom while the ship pitches you from one side to the other....LOL) was one of two inhabited places on the islands.  

I think I can say fairly "inhabited" is a term they use loosely- a few sandy streets and pretty down and out hostel type places make up the bulk of "civilization" here- photos follow-

but first- we make a stop in the raft near an island where the boobys roost! - oddly enough, though we were told we wouldn't see any more penguins after our expedition across from Sombrero Chino- there are some roosting here with the boobys (hiding out?)

then we head to port (town) where sea lions have become a part of the landscape- LOL- and we actually get to make a dry landing onto an actual DOCK!

looks like these guys can sleep anywhere!

the local bus service- took us through the town and out to an abandoned quarry where we saw pink flamingos....

then we took our "bus" to the nearby turtle breeding center to see the turtles and learn about efforts to keep these guys populated throughout the islands-

 an embryo from an egg showing the size of the turtle inside the eggs- then a hatchling - at two months old-

from the turtle preserve we went into town where we were given waaaaaayyy too much time to hang out- the four streets offered little beyond bar/cafes and a couple of stores with nothing really to buy and so we had drinks in  place that offered Wi-Fi so Phil could check his email on his phone-

back to the ship in the rain which had come while we on land for a couple of hours- and we head out after dinner is served to the next island (overnight sailing again)