Galapagos Vacation Cruise Two

Since we were continuing our cruise aboard the Coral I, the ship dropped us off on the island to see the Highlands and the tortoise sanctuary on a private farm. We were with two lesbians from Australia whose company we enjoyed. When we arrived, the people from the cruise who were flying out that afternoon stood at the entrance to the farm. We exchanged hugs and fist bumps with them before they boarded their bus for the airport.

at the private farm

The ship took off on a long route to the southern portion of the Galapagos for Espanola. Before breakfast sea creatures came by the boat. We watched a pack of dolphins jump in the water. Manta and black rays appeared off the bow.

Manta rays in formationThe lone black ray seemed comfortable on his/her own.

black ray

Monday began with Floreana offered us Cormorant Point and a colony of pink flamingos in lagoons.

.pink flamingos

The “Green Beach” is named so due to its green color, which comes from a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand, and the “Four Sand Beach” is composed of white coral. Instead of staying on the beach I decided to join in the snorkeling activity.

Cormorant Point had craters that house reefs provide one of the best places for swimming and snorkeling at Devil’s Crown. The devil did me in. The water was deep and we had a long swim so I was often trailing behind the group and missing some of the great sea creatures.

We moved in the afternoon to the Post Office Bay. Yes, the name is literal. Vacationers put post cards that they receive on board the ship into the box as sailors once did hundreds of years ago. The hope is that a visitor would mail the card if they lived near the area. Seemed like a silly exercise to me and I did not partake. Instead we made our way to the beach.

My favorite part was the old soccer field. Here’s a look through the net on one end.

looking through the soccer net

There’s always sea lions on the beach; often putting on a show, intentionally or not.

sea lion formation

Even the iguanas struck a pose.

what are they looking at?

Our voyage moved back toward the eastern section of the islands. On Espanola, we started with Suarez Point, a dry landing but supposedly one of the more difficult ones that we would encounter. The island had many birds and a giant blowhole.

Suarez Point

In the afternoon Gardner Bay hosted us with its turquoise water and the white coralline sand beach that reaches around the point a kilometer away. We passed a herd of sea lions all lined up basking in the sun along the beach to find mysterious prints in the sand.

Gardener Bay beach

The iguanas get more active up in the cliffs. They manage their territory and look for mates, sparking the occasional fight. The cliffs housed the waved albatross colony that spends three-quarters of the year in the islands or nearby in Peru and Ecuador. The remaining time, they fly as far as parts of Asia.

in the cliffs

The birds are remarkable in flight with a wing span of over 7 feet.

albatross in the air

There’s always time for another beach excursion where shining lizards capture the eye. One is copper and another red.

shiny copper iguana100_0751

After returning to the enticements of the big capital city of Quito, we arranged for a taxi to drive us into the Andes to visit Park De Condor. We saw a bird show featuring raptors of all sorts.

bird demonstration

While the condors weren’t taken out, we walked over to their cage. This bird has the largest wing span in the world. While Ira thought it humorous that we drove 2.5 hours to see such an ugly buzzard, I’d read books with pictures of condors in them since the late 1960s. The smaller California species is making a comeback in the US. but its larger cousin is struggling in the wild.

condors

The park had an impressive array of raptors, including a great bald eagle.

bald eagle

or this beauty with a sharp gaze on something tasty:

another raptor

this one wouldn’t hear of being in a photograph

seemingly distracted

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1 comment so far

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