E- and I were lucky enough to get a spot on a trip to the Galapagos with our friends Lori and Troy. Thanks to Lori for the slide set.
This really is the trip of a lifetime, especially for a biologist. The unique animals, knowing that it was where Darwin had his lightbulb moment and the great job Ecuador has done preserving everything makes it worth visiting for a longer time. I feel we got more out of the trip by paying for an experienced crew of naturalists and would recommend that if you visit, read reviews of the agents/boats/crews before buying a package.
The ship held ~100 passengers and almost as many crew. Each expedition boat (holds ~10) has a naturalist so it is quite a lot of people to move about.
There are very few accommodations on the islands because most of it is a nature preserve. It is easiest to stay on a boat, which moves from island to island. The sailing is very smooth, which apparently is because the islands are on the equator-our captain had been in the Ecuadorian navy and piloted their only submarine. The boat trips usually take you to an island in the morning, then lunch while the ship travels to a new spot, and then a different island in the afternoon. The days are packed and you may end your vacation needing a vacation!
The birds nest on the ground since they have no fear of humans.
This was the first time I had walked on lava flows-feels a bit like being on the moon.
The Marine Iguana sneezes out excess salt so they have no competition from the fresh water iguanas.
Too many of the crabs in one place is a bit freaky. We spotted a number of the famous finches of the Galapagos, but they don't sit as still as the larger birds!
This is just after the chicks had hatched and we saw many cute little fluffies. The 'nest' of the blue footed boobie is really a ring of guano. They are worse nest-makers than mourning doves!
Lonesome George has since died but they have his DNA....
No longer a recent lava flow, but not yet covered in vegetation. The big gap in the land on the picture on the right? Man-made by the US military bomb practice.
The seals and sea lion also did not care about we humans walking around. They don't even flinch as you walk by.
Didn't manage to grab a photo of the reef sharks as they swam under me, but the rays were less scary.
Everyone takes these photos, right?
The whale or shark on the right has been reassembled by the naturalists.