After returning from my Galapagos Island tour Mathieu Guillory asked me if I would write a Chronicle about my Galapagos experience. I said I would be more than happy to do it. After retiring from the service industry I am most willing to report on a first rate service experience. Through Live Well Ecuador I rented an apartment for a month in Quito to have as a home base. Upon arriving I met with Mathieu to discuss my traveling plans for the month. Number one on my priority list was to tour the Galapagos Islands. Ever since I read a National Geographic magazine many years ago on the Galapagos Islands with pictures of the islands and animals I wanted to go there sometime. Now was that sometime.
I have found that for many reasons a tour to the Galapagos Islands is very specialized and requires knowledgeable and service oriented people to plan it for you. I met with Mathieu who walked me a short distance to a professional tour agency that specializes in Galapagos Island tours. It should be also noted that I am only English literate and I needed everything communicated in English, including the tour. The tour representative was both thorough and professional. I was offered three tour options - All with different prices and values for consideration.
It was Thursday and I would be on my way for this long waited adventure the following Wednesday. The price was almost too good to be true, but then I was very flexible to fit into the openings that were available. The five day and four night tour with a world class tour company including three meals per day, daily cabin cleaning service, and a first class English speaking guide was more then I could have expected for the reasonable price.
Day 1 – Baltra, Sanat Cruz, Giant Turtle
I flew on Aerogal (a first class airline) from Quito toBaltra Island near Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island and Charles Darwin Research Station. We were first taken to our sixteen passenger Yacht, Pelikano. We were given cabin assignments and informal introductions to the other passengers. Soon we were on to our first walking tour of the Galapagos National Park to see the giant turtles where they are studied and monitored to prevent them from becoming extinct. These giant creatures live more than 125 years on a limited vegetarian diet. Being among them was very special to me. Most important, the threat of extinction has now been reversed.
Next we went back to the boat and get a safety briefing and the itinerary for the following day. We met the captain and crew with a welcoming toast to formally begin the tour followed by dinner freshly prepared by our chef. After dinner there was time to socialize and get to know our touring family for the next four days.
Welcome to The Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Turtle - Now Less Endangered
Day 2 – Santa Maria Island
According to plan we arrived at 3 am while all were or should have been sleeping. After breakfast we went ashore and saw where the early pirates had made a primitive post office to communicate to others who visited the island. It is now used by tourists who continue the tradition by sending and trading post cards from the very same spot.
We went on to climb down a lava tunnel into a pool of sea water. We then walked along the beach to see where the sea turtles had nested and laid their eggs in the sand. Thousands of baby sea turtles hatch and go directly into the sea to find a new life from this beach every month.
Then it was time to go snorkeling and see the vast varieties of sea life under water including the friendly sea lions that swim almost within reach but never making any physical contact.
After more walking to take in more beautiful scenery and wild life and a refreshing afternoon swim in the warm waters it was time to move on to Espanola island.
Pirate Post Office
Down into the Lava Tunnel
Turtle Tracks - Do not Distrub the Eggs