A cool thing about this trip is that while on the boat, we crossed the equator 6 times. During one of those crossings I grabbed screenshots from an app I have that shows Lat/Long. Flip through these to see one of our crossings from north to south. At the end I included a screenshot from a marine navigation app that showed the location in relation to the islands.
27 December 2015
The wildlife continued to impress on day 2 hike. Most of these pics were taken by Cam.
Out for our first deep water snorkel (meaning the zodiac boat brings us directly to the snorkel site instead of having to get there from a beach). Was different swimming with large turtles and sea lions. And, both Jaime and I got to experience our first jellyfish stings. I got hit on my face, neck, arm and finger. Jaime got it on the ankle. For those who haven't experienced that ever... It isn't a good feeling. :(
Great day one - back to the boat.
I was surprised to see so much cactus here. On the drier islands (or sides of islands) cactus is everywhere.
Hey girls! Look at my big red swollen sac! (Says the male Frigate.)
The incense tree. These were all over the landscape. Awaiting the rain to let their leaves out. Rub the pitch on your fingers and it indeed smells like incense.
Here are some good Boobie pics that show off their blue feet.
This series of pics show a Blue Footed Boobie (yes the kids loved saying that) returning with some fish to feed to its baby (the white fluffy bird). The baby Boobie dives its beak into is parents throat to retrieve the fish - while a Frigate bird dive bombs them to try to steal the fish. The baby got the fish down.
Buddies out for an afternoon stroll.
An early hit, the sea lion pups were so cool. Unfortunately I cannot upload video to Journi - so I'll post a follow-up link to Facebook for the video once I'm able.
Hahahahaha! Look at those funny non-feathered creatures that can't fly! (Said the female Frigate from her nest as we passed by...)
The animals aren't the only cool things to look at. The scenery is pretty amazing as well.
A staple of the Galapagos, these land iguanas were great to work with. They posed as requested and stood on the tallest rocks for some amazing backgrounds...
One of them even cracked a great smile!
Can't remember the name of this bird right now, but I love it's eyeliner. Going to figure out the name and will update this post when I do.
North Seymour Island is our first stop. It is hard to communicate how wild it is to see so much wildlife just hanging out within reach. They say that since there are very few predators on these islands (the Galapagos Hawk being the primary one) the animals do not fear other animals (including us).
This Lava Lizard was just the first... as you will see.
We go everywhere via zodiac. Disembark on either the 2nd or 3rd level of the Endeavour, then zip to and from shore (or deep water snorkeling). National Park rules requires visitors to always be with a naturalist guide who is deputized to protect the islands.
26 December 2015
Beautiful sunset the first night in the boat.
Update: there was a bigger rock to land on. Phew.
From plane to bus to little zodiac boat to the National Geographic Endeavour. All aboard!
We are descending. I trust that there is something bigger than this rock to land on........
Fumigation of the hand luggage while in flight. They missed me...
Stop 1 - Guayaquil
By for now Quito! We'll be back for a day next week. Here we come Galapagos!
25 December 2015
On the side of the Pichincha Volcano, there is a lookout called Cruz Loma. From just outside of downtown Quito you can catch a ride on the TelefériQo, which is a gondola ride up about 3,000 feet.
Turned out to be a wonderful Christmas morning thing to do. Beautiful weather, no crowds.
The ride to the top of the TelefériQo was worth it. And the altitude was noticeable. A mild oxygen lacking buzz kicked in the whole time we were up there.
The views were spectacular.
Amazing to think that tomorrow we'll be snorkeling in the Galapagos. Ready for a relaxing afternoon and early night tonight.
24 December 2015
In La Independencia Plaza is the Palacio de Carondelet, which is a building that serves many governmental purposes- including that of being the official residence of the president of Ecuador. (He doesn't actually live there now though.)
Another cool old church we were trying to visit, but they were closed.
This church (St. Francis) was built between 1534 and 1604. Original bamboo flooring still exists. Photos were not allowed inside the cathedral, but wow... It was amazing. In the "photos are ok" section, we found this beautiful painting of the Franciscan family tree. It must have been 30+ feet tall.
Inside the courtyard (one of seven that the church and monastery has) was pretty cool as well.
The Plaza de San Francisco and the front of the Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco (Church and Monastery of St. Francis). On Christmas Eve, this area was bustling.
While Ecuador is growing as a tourist destination, it is still very raw. This was a wonderful walk through real life in this city.
Visiting a hostel in La Ronda neighborhood of Quito. Very cool inside design/architecture.
Day 2 begins. Christmas Eve in Quito. We will be checking out Old Town this morning. Not sure yet what the afternoon will bring.
First stop of Day 2 - Panecillo. A lookout over the city of Quito where a large statue of the Virgin Mary (dancing with wings) looks over the city.
23 December 2015
Traditional Ecuadorian meal tonight. Started with Empanadas made with corn flour and plantain flour. And included the Cuy (Guinea Pig) seen in these photos. I Ali had some wonderful trout.
So far, the food here is amazing!
Lunch and a walk at Hacienda Pinsaqui. Beautiful gardens and meal.
Downtown Peguche. We learned how the locals weave the beautiful tapestries.
The mercado at Otavalo.
Mount Imbaburra (not the background). That's Cam standing in front.
Making bizcochos (a traditional Ecuadorean biscuit).
First stop of the day - the equator!
First morning in Quito. Off the see the Otavalo market.
Getting a late start on this vacation diary. But the early stuff was pretty boring. Typical vacation travel drama. Delayed in Detroit due to problem bathroom on the plane. Hour delay caused us to miss connection in Houston. Stayed the night there then were re-routed via Panama to Quito. We arrived!