Greetings from Ecuador!
This is our first posting while enroute, on this occasion from Quito, Ecuador. We returned yesterday from five glorious days in the Galapagos on board the Coral I, a 34 passenger boat that cruised us around the archipelago. About two-thirds of the passengers were from the US (including sixteen women from Westport, CT who have a history of dumping their spouses and traveling to exotic venues) as well as folks from Australia, Denmark, France, Israel and the UK.
If you haven’t been, try to find a way to visit this extraordinary place – Darwin wasn’t kidding around, folks! The scenery is gorgeous but it is the wildlife – and the ability to get up close to it – that knocked our socks off. We were next to – among others – Land and Marine Iguanas, Lava Lizards, Galapagos Seals, Fur Seals, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, Cormorants, Frigates, Galapagos Penguins, Blue Footed Boobies and a dozen other flying creatures, Green Sea Turtles, huge Land Tortoises, and the famous Lonesome George (the last of his unless he somehow is turned on by one of the various females of related tortoise species to whom the scientists at the Darwin Center keep introducing him!).
In the 4.5 days we took eight hikes of varying challenge. Our forays to various islands and terrains were led by naturalists from the National Galapagos Park Service, talented and committed tour guides who stayed on board with us and briefed us each evening on the upcoming events. The consensus of the group was that the daily tours were more strenuous than we had anticipated (although none exceeded three miles according to my trusty pedometer!). The hikes were broken up by snorkeling and swimming in beautiful waters along stunning beaches.
Our group also agreed that the food was far better than we expected (though the wine selection wasn’t great!). The schedule conveniently (and prudently) allowed for midday and late afternoon (before cocktails) rest periods (here read naps!). The seas were quite rough on two of the four nights. Indeed, we lost a number of our colleagues at dinnertime because of the heavy rolls we encountered.
All in all, it was a fabulous beginning of our sabbatical adventure. And Quito is marvelous. We are staying at a gorgeous small hotel and our meals to date have been spectacular. More later!
Joe and Barbara
P.S. Check out the few photos I’m able to attach!