Friday, 2 January 2009

Christmas and New Year in the Galapagos Islands

We spent what turned out to be a rather disappointing evening in Guayaquil on Christmas Eve. We thought we´d go out to Las Penas (pleasant and colourful part of the city) for a nice meal only to find that all restaurants seemed to be closed for the night. We strolled back into the centre of town to find that the only eating establishment left open was a KFC!

We were up nice and early on Christmas morning to catch our flight to the Galapagos and landed over there in gorgeous sunshine and 25 degree heat, and met up with our guide Sergio and our fellow cruisers. We were staying on a big, spacious motorboat called Darwin which slept 16 passengers (we even had private bathrooms!) and we joined this on the island of Baltra. After boarding we were served a nice big Christmas lunch .However, just as we were finishing the mains there was a loud knock followed by the sound of glass smashing and I turned to see Jo clutching her head in pain. A glass light fitting had fallen from the ceiling of the boat and had caught her right on the head (fortunately it had smashed on hitting the floor rather than her head). She´s a pretty tough girl though so there was no fainting but unfortunately quite a bit of blood appeared and it was apparent that we´d have to go to hospital to get it checked out. By this time we´d set sail so we had to be dropped off at the nearest port right at the northern end of the main island of Santa Cruz where a taxi took us down to the main town at the southern end, Puerto Ayora.

The hospital was a pretty basic but clean and efficient affair (I carefully watched to ensure all products were sterile and that aseptic technique was adhered to!), and the Doctor decided that Jo would need a couple of stitches. So after a bit more discomfort for Jo we left to rejoin the Darwin with Jo a bit light headed but determined to still make the most of the trip. Unfortunately the Doctor had advised us that Jo should not snorkel which was something approaching disastrous when that´s one of the main daytime activities on a cruise. However after being a compliant patient for a whole one day, suffering watching everyone go off snorkeling, we had to try and come up with a way to mean Jo could get in the water but keep her head dry. The best option was a small duty-free carrier bag which just squeezed over Jo´s head, with the added bonus of a borrowed wetsuit hat! The end result had Jo looking like an elite fighter in the SBS but it was remarkably good at keeping her head nice and dry.
So on we went to enjoy what was an absolutely incredible trip, visiting 11 of the islands. We saw blue-footed boobies doing their courting dance, were followed by a troop of prehistoric looking frigate birds wherever we sailed, came face to face with land and marine iguanas, giant tortoises, penguins, snorkeled with loads of sea lions, fur seals, white-tipped sharks, rays (manta, sting and eagle!), angel fish, parrot fish, sea turtles. Not to mention volcanic scenery, lava fields and tunnels! Rather than bang on about that and every detail of our trip, here are a few photo´s that tell the story!

Our final night on board was New Years Eve and we decided to introduce everyone to Sally Macs game (a type of charade´s taught to us by Janine). It went down a treat and didn´t end in a heated argument as has previously been the case! Stupidly Jo and I had mentioned our wedding dance to our fellow passengers during the cruise and this came back to bite us when we were coerced into doing a (really poor!) rendition on the boat just after midnight!

We´re now in Quito and are quite gutted that the trip is over. However still 83 days to go so it´s not all bad (as I write this I realise that most will be suffering from New Year depression heading back to work in a cold, wet England so we don´t have any right to moan! You can always come and join us in Brazil for Carnaval!!).

A very Happy 2009 to you all.

Lots of love from
Jo and Al x x x x x

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