Friday, July 11, 2008

Back to the Beginning – Arrival in the Galapagos

It is impossible to describe the eagerness and excitement I felt seeing Baltra Island from the air before landing at the Baltra Airport. A dream was becoming reality. I was actually in the Galapagos? Please, someone pinch me. Is this real?

Wow! It was more than real. Each day, each experience, each moment seemed more amazing than the last! Each close encounter and I do mean CLOSE, with a bird or animal created a special memory. There are many stories to share…


The Baltra Airport is really an airstrip, a former U.S. Air Base used during World War II, with several small buildings and a larger one where everyone must go through customs.

The place is surprisingly sparse. With the exception of the VIP lounge, the main building doesn’t even have walls. Travelers are whisked in on one side and out the other where souvenir shops and buses wait.

Each travel company is very good at rounding up their guests to get them on buses, to waiting zodiacs and onboard the ships as soon as possible. We were with Celebrity on the Xpedition, but we also saw some travelers with National Geographic. The chaos is very well organized. When we landed, those who had disembarked from the ship were waiting to leave on the same plane in which we arrived. It was very interesting to be the ones waiting for the plane at the end of our trip. We watched new arrivals walking down the airstrip, taking numerous photos, the same we had done only ten days earlier. The Ecuadorian government and the cruise lines have the system working like a well made Rube Goldberg machine!

Celebrity could not have treated us better. Everything, everyone, was first-class ALL the time. The Xpedition was beautiful. This is my first view of the ship as we approached in the zodiac.

As we boarded our floating hotel we were greeted with champagne and soon we were excited for our first adventure - a hike on North Seymour Island.

The zodiacs landed on a rocky shore and within a few feet we saw a Swallow-Tailed Gull and chick just off of the trail. This was my first, of many, life birds of the trip.

Within minutes we were watching Frigatgebirds, Blue Footed Boobies,Iguanas, Sea Lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs.

I felt like dancing with the Blue Footed Boobies! They were dancing and nesting everywhere and we were standing in the middle of all the joy! (Read about the Boobies in my July 1 post.)

We left North Seymour Island as the moon rose

and we were back on the Xpedition for a beautiful senset and a wonderful dinner.

It was the end of a glorious day in the Galapagos!


Annette said...

What an incredible adventure! And beautiful photographs. Thanks for sharing!

Kathleen said...

It was so incredible I still get very excited just thinking about the amazing wildlife I was blessed to see. Wow!