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Guest Galapagos Diary, Days 1-3
IE was fortunate to welcome guest Kathryn Lamb and her father, both from London, aboard our Galapagos cruise. Kathryn was good enough to share her daily diary and photos from their Galapagos vacation.
Catch up with the rest of Kathryn’s Trip Diary:
My dad and I were very excited to be finally setting off for our 10-day adventure. Before the trip, I was keen to gain a basic understanding of what to expect and what I was likely to see on the Islands. I was aware that Charles Darwin had based his revolutionary "Theory of the Evolution of Species" from his experience and studies of the islands, and I knew it was home to giant tortoises and an array of other species but little more! I was delighted to receive a full briefing pack from International Expeditions providing an overview of the trip head, together with an insight into the islands' history, flora and fauna, and that always useful kit list! We departed London Heathrow via Miami to Guayaquil, Ecuador and finally arrived at the Hotel Oro Verde around midnight for a very welcomed night's sleep after the long journey.
We had opted to add on the Guayquil pre-voyage extension to our trip, and it proved to be a great choice! It was lovely to be able to become acclimatised to our new surroundings at leisure.
The Ecuadorian's love football and as the trip coincided with the FIFA World Cup the breakfast room was decorated in a football theme sporting different flags from around the world. A great start for my football enthusiast Dad!
We spent the morning at leisure exploring the city parks before joining the official city tour organized by IE. There we met three fellow travelers and proceeded around the city spotting our first sighting of some iguanas in the park. We experienced amazing views from Santa Ana Hill and walked through the botanical gardens along the Guayas River bank.
We dined at the local Blue Snail restaurant recommended by IE (for other restaurant recommendations, click here) and the food was stunning.
We met our Expedition Leader and Naturalist Boli and remaining fellow travelers. Boli gave a briefing explaining everything we needed to know about the next leg of the journey, the M/V Evolution, and what to expect followed by an overview of the itinerary for the week ahead. Boli took time to explain to the group the requirements of the Galapagos National Park and our responsibilities as visitors to the islands during our stay. It was reassuring to hear that tourist numbers to the islands are regulated and monitored; there are very clear do's and don'ts to adhere to. For example, people must always be accompanied by a certified Galapagos National Park Guide; people must stay within the walking limits of paths; and the wildlife must not be touched nor fed as this can be detrimental to their health.
We departed Guayaquil by plane to the Galapagos Islands arriving firstly in San Cristobal before embarking the M/V Evolution. On route to the ship we saw our first Galapagos sea lion which was comically lying on the steps whilst we climbed aboard the pangas!
Once we'd settled in and unpacked we went for a cruise round Kicker Rock. This was useful as it helped me find my sea legs!
We then went to explore Cerro Brujo (Wizard Hill) where we saw many more sea lions that were happily sleeping in the sun and didn't seem to mind posing for photographs! We also saw pelicans, frigatebirds and Sally Lightfoot crabs. The crabs in particular were incredible so brightly coloured in a red orange shade scuttling around on the black rocks.
We returned to the ship and received a welcome cocktail & official presentation of the captain and crew.