The speedboat took 22 people and we managed to sit outside at the back. It wasn’t as bumpy as were thought it was going to be. It took just over 2 hours. We docked in Santa Cruz which felt like a big city compared to San Cristobal. Traffic, shops, restaurants, and people people people! We had a drink at a pizza bar and hailed a white truck taxi to take us to our guest house. It was about 5 minutes drive down a very narrow side street. We checked in and went out again for some food as it was already 7pm. We ate at The Rock, one of the original restaurants in Galapagos. We had a couple of wraps and a drink then headed back as we were up early to get on the ship tomorrow. We didn’t get a wink of sleep as there was some party going on in the basketball court opposite our guest house. Sooo loud music and dogs barking all night, but the shower was hot and they made us breakfast and coffee on the rooftop. We taxi’d to the meeting point:
We met the crew of the Mary Ann at Ranch Manzillio – where wild giant turtles live. They are free to roam anywhere and are huge! They are bigger than the San Cristobal turtles as they are more dome-shaped.
We ate lunch, then wandered round with wearing wellies – you had to, to not transfer other matter to the turtle habitat.
We also visited the Charles Darwin Centre, which was OK, not brilliant. We saw the last Pinta turtle, which was Lonesome George, who lived anywhere between 80-100years, no one really knows.
Finally, we were on our way to the Mary Ann! We got a zodiac, which the Ecuadorians call a Panga, and we were on! It was around 7pm, and the sun was setting. It was a beautiful ship – the only sailing tall ship in the Galapagos. We had 2 cabins – number 5 and number 6. We used cabin 6 as our wardrobe, and 5 was big enough for the 3 of to sleep in. We all had a beer and ate dinner. There are 15 of us on our boat;
Betty who is 82, her daughter, Sharron, her partner, Mary Ann, and there 2 cousins, Stephanie and Beth all from New Orleans / Mid West. Christine and John from Arizona. John, a retired English school’s inspector. Colin, whose birthday is today. Shirley and Geoff, who sail and us 3. And Hans, a dutchman who was late meeting us.
We have a good group. The American ladies are a lot of fun and so great with Jack. He’s so excited and is taking to everyone with such enthusiasm. He is ticking off his Galapagos chart with all the birds and animals we see. Dinner was so good but we were all tired, so tried to go to bed around 9.45pm. I slept on and off. The engines started at 2am to get us to Floreana. I was aware of the engines starting but slept through it mostly.
The next day, we were woke at 6.30am for 7am breakfast. Bacon, bread, cereal, fruit coffee and tea. Hot shower then we were ready with our wetsuits, snorkelling gear etc to get on the pangas.
Blue footed boobies, Pelican, frigate bird, Oyster catcher, SEA TURTLES (Sooo happy about that!) stingrays, a penguin (from a distance) lava lizards.
Snorkelling, was brilliant! We saw a sea turtles first up and a blue star fish. Lots of angel fish…
It was cold, so we were glad of our wetsuits.
Lunch was lovely and were are heading of for more snorkelling and post postcards at the Post Office bay.
Post Office Bay, at Floreana is a tradition where travellers ‘post’ a postcard in a barrel. Other travellers then look through them and if they can hand deliver the card, they take it. It is a tradition from when sailors needed to contact home. We found two postcards that we think we can deliver: one in Lantau, HK and the other near Glasgow, Scotland. We took them – let’s see if we can deliver them!
During the next 5 days, we visited the other islands of; Santa Cruz, Espanola, Florena, Isabella, Fernandina, Santiago and North Seymour.
Each island is different with unique species living on the islands. For example, the giant tortoises change slightly on each island. On Santa Cruz, they have longer necks as they had to reach up further to eat the leaves of taller bushes. On San Cristobal, they have shorter necks and bigger shells to hid under.
The finches change also. Their beaks are longer than finches elsewhere, as they had to evolve to peck leads from trees, taking on the characteristics of a woodpecker.
We snorkelled with sea lions, who were so playful, they dived and swam under our legs. Sea Turtles who would let us follow them for ages and appeared so chill-out. Males have a longer tail than females and they let the swells take them which helped us follow them easily.
Back on board, we helped raise the sails of the Mary Ann. It took the crew of 8 plus many of us to help push and pull the ropes. Captain Mario let Jack take the wheel for a while and he had to follow the course of 330* for ages. We sailed through the night to get to our next destination.
Galapagos is truly beautiful and the abundance of sea life, birds and mammals are truly overwhelming.
We learned that on Floreana, two German families came to live here but never got on. One of the families had a baby boy in one of the caves and built a labyrinth of alleyways, probably to keep domesticated animals in. They all mysteriously disappeared and no one knows how or why. There is also an ‘Easter Island’ type of stone carving there which is pretty cool, and again, no one knows who carved it or why.
Sunsets on the boat were spectacular. The deepness of the reds and orange were brilliant and when the sea was calm, it was so peaceful.
Seymour Island was full of hundreds of Lava Lizards which were jet black in colour. We continuously mistook them for rocks as they would lie all over each other and perfect still. As we approached, they would start to move and only then it was obvious that they were iguanas.
We all loved our 8 days on board and got on so well with the other guests. We even had a impromptu ceilidh on the last night in between the chairs – just brilliant!
We left the Mary Ann and headed to Santa Cruz for one last night before flying back to Quito to make a flight to Lima to start our Peru adventures.