Thursday: Punta Moreno - Navigation to Puerto Villamil with Whale watching (24/11) At Punta Moreno we visited a relatively young lava field -approx. 10 000 years old. Here the gradual inhabitation by spiders, birds and flora can be witnessed.
Galápagos for a second week -what a privilege! We were curious to see what other creatures and landscapes the other islands more to the West on Itinerary B had to offer. Sunday: Baltra - Las Bachas (20/11/2016) The ship was refuelled and Maja Homberger came on board with the new passengers -this time we were only 11. From Baltra it was only a short distance to reach Playa las Bachas on the northern section of Santa Cruz island. We were lucky to see more Iguanas, many Blue-footed Boobies,2 Flamingos in a laguna ( there are only a few flamingos on Galapagos). Note: click on the video to play and also to stop it from looping. While travelling to Elizabeth bay we had the luck of seeing approx. 50 dolphins and as many sea lions that followed us.
Friday: Isla Española: Punta Suarez -Playa Gardner (18/11) After breakfast we rode to Playa Gardner, a white beach , quite a contrast to the previous black and red ones. Sea lions awaited us, different Mocking birds, light coloured Gal. Hawks and American Oystercatchers. Note: This video loops - please stop it manually when you are finished watching it During snorkelling we saw large Stingrays, Lobsters, Turtles and a number of swarming fish. Water here was colder with viz approx 10-15m. Afternoon was a scheduled landing at Punta Súarez with plenty of sea iguanas with beautiful red and green shading. Many sea lions on the beach and in the water, dense vegetations with mocking birds that accompanied us. Many dead iguanas were testimony to global warming - two years before approx. 50% of the iguana population starved to death due to the sea grass and algae not growing as the water temperatures rose too high.
Galapagos -this destination is on many a bucket list. We were very fortunate to be able to visit these very special islands while waiting on our vehicle and fridge parts to arrive from South Africa. Die Galapagos Inseln besuchen zu können ist auf dem Wunschzettel vieler Reisender. Wir hatten das Glück, diesen Traum zu verwirklichen. Für Naturliebhaber sind diese Inseln ein Paradies -und für Fotographie Interessierte ein ganz besonderes Ziel. Galapagos consists of 14 main islands and more that 120 rocky islets, surrounded by 133 sq km marine reserve. In 1959 97% of the land area was designated as a National Park, 20 years later the islands became the first ever Unesco World Heritage site. Around 30 000 people live in Galapagos permanently and 200 000 tourists visit each year (about 3800 visitors per week). The name Galapagos means Tortoises and is derived from an old Spanish word for this animal. From a number of fellow travellers we had the recommendation to visit the Galapagos islands on board of the Angelito I. The reason given was the impeccable quality and service and that the boat is a smaller one, taking a maximum of 16 passengers ( 8 double cabins) and she has a crew of 8. It is owned by 2 Galapeño brothers ( Hugo and Leonardo Andrade Serrano ) and the bookings and guiding is handled by the Swiss Cometa Travel in Quito. So we decided it is worth a try and that it only took 16 passengers appealed to us and so was the fact that all cabins have outside windows. The boat was also fully refurbished during 2013. Cometa Travel link, select virtual map and view Itinerary A. On Saturday we left by bus from Ibarra to Quito's northern bus terminal Carcelen (2.5hrs ) and from here into Quito where we stayed overnight at Maja's place. For the bus trip we bought an extra ticket to ensure that the photographic equipment would be next to us and not stowed where it could disappear. Public transport is safe and cost-effective in Ecuador - however we were cautioned that on bus rides baggage could be pilfered.
We had seen colourful towns in Colombia before. But Jardin stands out with its beautifully kept buildings. Das Dorf Jardin begeisterte uns auf Grund seiner farbenfrohen Gebäude, aber auch durch die freundliche Atmosphäre und die Gelassenheit seiner Einwohner.Inbetween we took a rest at the hostal as well as had the opportunity to visit a reserve where the exotic cock-of-the-rock (belonging to the Cotinga family) could be observed ( this bird is the national bird of Peru).We took some time to get the vehicle into shape again, do maintenance and minor repairs. Since the arrival of our spares from South Africa would only be in 2-3 weeks, we decided to head for another dream destination: Galapagos. Our biker friend, Brett Fox,departed to Patagonia before us and was not afraid to handle a most beautiful tarantula that we discovered at Sommerwind.