Friday, November 11, 2005

Galapagos is here!

Today is the big day we have been waiting for - the beginning of our Galapagos cruise. Spent the majority of our flight saying to Dominique¨"i wonder who will be on our boat" considering the mix of ages, nationalities and "loud voices" on the plane, we had our fingers crossed for some young, fun folks - like us of course!

Got off the plane in Baltra, on one side of the island of Santa Cruz, to stunning sunshine, way warmer than the weather we had left in Quito this morning. Met our guide, Fatima, who is fantastic, and slowly started assessing the situation re: boat mates!! After all, the islands and all they have to offer are important of course, but you gotta have the right folks on the boat!!!

And we did! What a brilliant bunch! As we waited by the bus stop for our dinghy from the Tip To Three to arrive (told you i love that name!) we all got acquainted!Alejandro and Laura from Barcelona (watch this space for some exciting news on this fab couple!), Paul from New Hampshire who we had met previously at the Black Sheep Inn (small world), Ruth and Darcy from Canada (lovely couple looking out for all of us crazy youngsters!), Graciela and her grandaughter Amber from Guayacil in Ecuador, Ivan from San Fran, Carolynn from Canada, Ole from Germany (our "official" photographer but again, more on that later!), and Mary and Clem from Colorado... i knew the Machu Picchu group would be a hard act to follow but you could tell right away we were going to get along just swimmingly! (good water/boat pun there folks!) Plus our crew were fantastic - Polo, Segundo, Carlos, Umberto (the chef), Capitan Jimmy and more.. ahh imagine the Love Boat in Spanish.. but more on the real Love Boat later..

We took off for the north side of Santa Cruz for our first excursion... we sailed to the most beautiful beach and then had our first "wet landing" aka "shoes off" as you are going to get your feet wet! The official landings were either wet or dry depending on our excursion.. yes i know you want all the gory details!

Saw beautiful flamingos at a small lagoon. Then off to the other side of the island - tons of marine iguanas, more flamingos, sally lightfoot crabs and more...It was scorching hot and just perfect! Then time for snorkelling.. thank god for wetsuits as the water was FREEZING, even tho` we are so close to the equator ..brrr. Remembered doing this years ago, but took a wee while to realise the water shouldnt be coming into my mouth or eyes,,,yes i know im slow, but got the hang of it eventually. And it was quite beautiful...

Back to the boat for snacks (you quickly get used to delicious snacks on arrival every time you pop back on the boat - fantastic!).. a little later we "officially" met the crew, all dressed in their white uniforms - very posh! Cocktail reception - ahh piña coladas, im in heaven.. then chit chat with our new found friends, a briefing for tomorrow´s islands and fantastic dinner. That will become the daily routine on the "Tip Top Tres" ... lucky us!


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