Thursday, October 11, 2012

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador: Baltra island

We had an early start today for our trip to Baltra which is one of the airports in the Galapagos Islands. We had breakfast at 7:00am and if you are going to ask what it was, read yesterday’s post. We left the hotel at 7:30 and arrived at the airport with our guide Diego. He checked us in and left telling us that when we arrived in Baltra, another guide would be there to meet us for the duration of the cruise. The flight was supposed to leave at 9:40am and just as we were about to board, the flight was delayed for 30 minutes. Then another 30. Then another 30.  Then another 30. By the time we left, it was almost 11:20am.
We had to fly to Guayaquil to drop off and pick up other passengers. The flight attendant said that we were going to have chicken for lunch but by the time she got to our row, she apologized and said that the catering company had only supplied ½ the meals so we were served a cheese platter with some fruits and a roll. We were told by the guide in Quito that there were stores at the airport in Baltra where we could buy extra sun screen and snacks and also non-drowsy anti- nausea pills. We arrived late in Baltra, only to find out that the stores were closed because they did not know when the flight would arrive. Fortunately, we had sunscreen and some of the other people travelling on the cruise offered some if we run out.

Now for the cruise: There are 16 people on the cruise – most of them Australians who are living in Tasmania or the UK. The name of the yacht is the Darwin. Our cabin is the one toward the front on the middle deck (there is a man standing at the front of the deck).

Our guide’s name is Omar Medina (I told him that was already a good sign because my nephew’s name is Omar and my son-in-law’s middle name is Medina; [that’s Mike’s middle name]). He met us at the airport and transported us by bus (which we had to wait for about 30 minutes for) to the pier where we boarded a panga (dinghy) - 8 at a time, to the crew who had lunch waiting for us. We were greeted on the docks by one of the local islanders (a sea lion) who looked utterly bored to see us.

We had a delicious meal of baked fish, salad and veggies and some fresh grapefruit for dessert. We were assigned our cabins (small but cosy) and we managed to get a good one in the main level of the boat which apparently is the best place to be if you are prone to motion sickness.

That's the start of our Galapagos adventure.


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