Galapagos (8) – Cruise (4) – Santiago Island (and Daphne Island) / back to Santa Cruz

Sunday 17/06

Vlog by Isabelle: see below.


By me:

Wake up around 6:30am.

The sea is calm.

We go for a walk after breakfast, at 8am. We go on Santiago Island, in Puerto Egas.

On the beach where we land, there’s a sea lion with her cub, recently born (we can see the placenta on the beach). Our guide talks about the crabs and how they get new shell nearly every month (depending on the species).

We go for a walk, until the other coast where we can see Galapagos fur sea lions. Suddenly, we can see, in a distance, a dark fin of an… orca (killer whale)! He’s coming closer to the shore. We then realize that they are 2 of them; we can see them coming to the surface from time to time, to breathe. They are hunting for food, apparently turtles which are a delicacy for them. What an unexpected and beautiful spectacle! Amazing!

We go back to the beach from where we start our first snorkeling of the day. We see sea lion, a white-tip shark, a ray and at the end, when we come back to the shore, we can admire 3 sea lions playing in the waves, near the mother and her cub. We are literally 2 metres from them. Wow!

We go back to the boat to have lunch.

We sail to Buccaneer Cove, 45′ further north.

The 5 of us play a board game (diamonds).

At 2pm, we do our last snorkeling session of the trip (we are arriving back in Baltra tomorrow early morning). We see again (2) sea lions playing in the water, one white tip shark and a ray, both sleeping on the bottom. We also go in a lava tunnel. Not the best snorkeling but ok (we are becoming a bit difficult I think…). .

We start sailing again around 3:30pm, doing what they call an “oceanic observation”, i.e. trying to spot marine life from the deck of the catamaran. We see (fins of) manta rays. I play Loup Garou with the kids and then go on the upper deck to write the summary of the day. The sun is great; it’s a real delight. Isabelle reads while having a beer and the kids lay on the flat beds, listening to their music on Ludivine’s speaker. One of the very nice moments of this cruise.

After the 4th shower of the day, we attend the briefing followed by a farewell drink and another nice dinner.

Same programme as the previous night: kids and Isabelle are in bed by 8pm while I select the pictures (in fact I rather delete the not so good ones to arrive to the final selection).

I “only” took 300 pictures today… I work till midnight. Around 11pm, we arrived in Baltra. We have network for the first time since we left. I can check my emails and also discover the scores of the first 3 days of the World Cup. A few surprises already.



Monday 18/06 (1/2)

We were supposed to wake up at 5:30am to see the birds on Daphne Island. Isabelle and the girls did wake up but Jules and I overslept. We apparently didn’t miss much… Neither blue-footed boobies nor frigatebirds could be seen. Frigatebirds are the species whose males inflate their red gular pouch during the breeding season to attract females. We’ve seen them a lot since our arrival in Galapagos, flying in the sky. They are large, black pterodactyl-like seabirds with long, angular wings, which can stay aloft for months at a time.

We arrive in Baltra soon after the breakfast.

It was a great cruise; not too short (and not too long), very diversified, with a great guide and a great crew. The whole family enjoyed. Thanks Philippe, from Capac Nan travel agency, for having recommended this cruise to us. I remember when we were in Beijing he convinced us that the best way to make the most of our Galapagos trip was to cruise around the archipelago and experience the huge diversity of the different islands. He was right; it’s a totally different approach to wildlife.

I was very impressed by the fact that most animals let us approach just within a few metres (very often a couple of metres, even).

We wait 30′ in the place where the panga left us. I’d like to arrive in Puerto Ayora at the earliest to watch Belgium – Panama. A bus arrives; he drives us to the airport. After we disembark (with our 6 suitcases, our 3 big bags and our 8 small bags), we take the same bus to go to the ferry (to cross the channel). After crossing the channel, we take our transport (white pickup) to Puerto Ayora. There, we put all our bags at the (transport) agency and we rush to a café showing the football match. We arrive just at the end of the first half; still 0-0 (we followed it on the radio, in the car, in Spanish). We order pancakes and lemon juices.

The second half is much better: 3 goals (including 2 by Lukaku).

We walk a bit in the town and we take some cash. Our boat to San Cristobal is at 2pm.

We want to go and eat at our local hangout (‘Galapagos Deli’) but it’s closed in Monday….

Isabelle’s back hurts since yesterday.

We end up going to eat at the same place where we ate the sushis the other day. We watch England – Tunisia (in the same group as Belgium) while eating ceviche, salads, burger and sandwich.

At 1:30pm we go back to the agency to get our bags. They drive us to the port where we take a boat taxi to our boat to San Cristobal.

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