Travel and tourism in the Galapagos is highly regulated. If I understand correctly, each tour boat is assigned certain islands for each tour. The longer the tour the more islands assigned. Neither the Naturalist nor the ship’s captain has any input into what islands are assigned for a specific tour. In our case we had 3 nights onboard the ship and were assigned 4 islands. Our 4th night was spent on Santa Cruz Island. Gustavo, our trip leader each morning posted our schedule on a whiteboard.
Our first “event” is a couple of hours on Bachas beach. Gustavos thoughtfully reminds us of what we need to bring.
Two U.S. barges were towed to this beach and abandoned after WWII. The locals mispronunciation of “barges” became Bachas and it stuck. You must be careful where you walk in some places. Tthere are still pieces of metal sticking out of the sand in some places.
A member of the official greeting committee.
The lovely Carina patiently waits for us.
Higher up the beach there were numerous sea turtle nests. Some had egg shells remaining from the hatching. We had to be careful not to disturb the nest, but what I found even more interesting were the turtle tracks left in the sand. They actually looked like they were made by some mechanical device.
Over the years I have photographed many flamingos, but I don’t believe I have ever seen one flying. That changed on Bachas Beech.
Their bodies really look like it would be impossible for them to fly!
The small ghost crab, not nearly as plentiful as their cousin the Sally Lightfoot crab.
Sally Lightfoot crab
We spent the morning enjoying the sun and the view. We took a swim and did some snorkeling and of course observed the wildlife.
We had the entire beach to ourselves, but It felt like we were the only people in the world.
As per our schedule, we took a bridge and galley tour before lunch. This didn’t take long, after all it is a small ship, but it was interesting.
Raul in his tiny work space. It was amazing that he prepared the fantastic meals in such cramped conditions. I am sure all of our kitchens are much larger than his and he prepares 3 meals a day for 24 people.
We visited the engine room and the folks who had worked at John Deere were pleased to see that a couple of their motors powered the generators.
We then went topside to visit the captain in the bridge. He was very kind and happy to answer all of our questions and and show us some of the ships equipment.
After lunch and a short rest period, which we were going to need, we landed for our trek to “Dragon Hill”. This landing is on the northwest side of Santa Cruz Island.
You may get the idea that we spent a lot of time on the zodiacs, and we did. By the end of our trip we were pretty adept at boarding and debarking from the bobbing boat.
The scenery was beautiful. At one point I counted 22 extinct volcanic cones from one spot.
I’ll be quite for a while and just share some photos.
and we marched on… and on… and on……
Another of my old friends.
The view was great, but it was HOT.
We returned back to the ship where we had a “port talk” with more information about the islands and their history. We then got to enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Pacific.
Sun setting over Guy Fawkes Island, a collection of two crescent shaped islands and two small rocks north-west of Santa Cruz Island, I have no idea how the Island got the name of the English revolutionary who attempted to carry out the Gunpower Plot in 1605. There must be a story but I couldn’t find it. It was a beautiful sunset anyway.
We finished the day with farewell cocktails with the captain and crew, followed by dinner.
The ever gracious Carlos.
Tonight we will travel around the island to Puerto Ayora on the southeastern side of Santa Cruz Island. Here we will debark for a day of exploring and finish with an overnight in a hotel.