Galapagos - Adventures of an English “Marine Aquarist”!


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So with my 50th birthday looming on the horizon, it was time to plan something a little special.

I really didn’t have any idea what I could do, but having just finished watching one of the latest David Attenborough documentaries, I was overcome by an idea of adventure.

I mentioned visiting the Galapagos Islands to my wife, who immediately and without hesitation, said if you’re going there, you must take our son Ben, who has always been a life long nature lover, and this was an adventure of a life time for him.

So I booked the trip over a year in advance and I’ll document our adventure day by day with lots of pictures for all those interested, and please ask any questions or pictures you would like to see.

Enter the magical world of Galapagos.......


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So the journey started at London Heathrow were we caught KLM KL1000 to Amsterdam Schipol which is about a 40 minute flight, and then after a very short transfer we were on KLM KL753 from Amsterdam to Quito in Ecuador. Infact the Heathrow flight landed at 08.55 and we were back in the air at 10.00. Flight time 11 hours 15 minutes

We travelled business class and KLM were excellent. I can’t fault them at all and would certainly travel with them again as my preferred airline.

After about 6 hours I began to get bored, very bored... eye spy with my little eye something beginning with mmmm C!


After a further 5 hours or so, we landed in Quito were we stayed for 2 nights in a small hotel.

I wasn’t that impressed with Quito to be honest. It’s a bit basic and seems to lack infrastructure and also telephone engineers by the looks of this


The hotel was nice, very basic but functional and it was a family run type of place. That’s Ben loitering in the corner!


We then boarded the Avianca flight to Baltra Galapagos Islands. It’s stops in Guayaquil for anyone going on this flight by the way. So the journey is about 40 minutes from Quito to Guayaquil, and then 1.53 minutes to Baltra in Galapagos. The Galapagos Islands are roughly 1150-1200 miles off the coast of Ecuador.

Also the planes used by Avianca are modern airbuses so no old prop planes or anything to worry about here.

I can honestly and truthfully say, the very moment the wheels touched down, I had a lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes. I’m not joking here and I don’t know we’re it came from but there you go. Galapagos, we had arrived......

Just landed


Approaching customs, well if you can call it that. But they do put your bags through another machine to pick up things like seeds, foods to prevent the islands being put at risk by imported plants etc.


And our flying machine leaves us......



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It was a little cloudy the first day as you can see, but this cleared up.

After a short bus ride from Baltra Airport we arrived at the crossing to the main island Santa Cruz. Our baggage was taken to the boat separately and we crossed the water on a small boat


And then we were introduced to one of the locals, who seemed a little sleepy....



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So, we’re still on the first day having just arrived in Galapagos and are heading to the Charles Darwin Research Centre which is located on Santa Cruz Island. It’s also the home of the Galapagos National Park Service and has a large tortoise breeding centre.

Santa Cruz is located a fraction south (a 5 minute boat trip) from Baltra which is were the main airport is and is the most populated (humans) of the Galapagos Islands.


Walking through the first entrance we come across a beach apple tree or manchineel tree or ‘tree to give you a very bad day if you eat it or get dripped on’. Don’t get making your apple pies with this baby! It’s highly poisonous just in case your wondering!


And then we’re up to the main entrance


And then the inhabitants....


Hello little lady, what might your little name be


And in the context of pure research into tortoise behaviour (censors!)


Mmm seems to have a little spring in his step now...


And finally a little lizard who was watching the whole event...



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As we reach the end of the first day in Santa Cruz , we had to wait an hour or so in the harbour for the boat to be ready. We had been up from around 3am to catch the flight and were absolutely exhausted

The harbour is below, not very exciting but lots of boats. I’ll post some pictures of the boat later.


And then we boarded and enjoyed the beautiful view, another sunset in Galapagos......



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Man, that looks nice. We live 2 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, and my wife doesn't understand why I don't appreciate staring out at the wide open ocean. Seeing rare nature, a harbour, other islands off in the distance is what excites me like what you're finding on Galapagos.


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Man, that looks nice. We live 2 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, and my wife doesn't understand why I don't appreciate staring out at the wide open ocean. Seeing rare nature, a harbour, other islands off in the distance is what excites me like what you're finding on Galapagos.
These pictures are only the beginning as well, it’s going to get much more interesting

The Galapagos is simply magical, that’s about the best word I can find to describe it


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So at the start of our second day, we cruised over night for a few hours and arrived at our next destination, the Islands of Chinese Hat & Isla Rabida

This was our first departure from the boat in the rubber speedboats we used to land were ever we were in Galapagos. To start it was an effort to get in them whilst wobbling around trying not to fall into the water but we soon got the hang of it (well after 7 days with no ‘incidents’! Lol)


We then started the first part of our day were we saw penguins


And then headed towards our first landing spot of the trip for a wet landing (feet wet). And you can clearly see why it’s called Chinese Hat.


And then we went exploring...


And the crew waited for us just off shore


And next we encountered one of the ‘sweetest’ sights............