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Showing posts from October, 2017

Ecuador and Galápagos, 20 Sep - 4 Oct 2017

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This is the story of an epic adventure. These two photos are iconic of our experience:

This trip was nearly two years in the making. Jill's mom, Marie, started talking about a trip to Ecuador that a mutual friend of ours had made. I mentioned that I had always wanted to see the Galápagos Islands, and it turned out that she has, too. So we embarked on a grand plan.

I started by researching various Galápagos tour groups; I found this website describing  Galápagos  trips in 2009 and 2013 particularly helpful. We chose Ecoventura for our tour group; they came highly recommended, have been in operation for a long time, and have a strong commitment to sustainability. I also highly recommend them; they were very helpful preparing for the trip, and the service provided by the crew and guides was top-notch. For a ship, we chose the MV Origin, partly because of its very large windows (hoping that would reduce chances of seasickness). Additionally, its newer design makes it more than 30% mo…

San Cristóbal, Guayaquil, and home, 1-4 Oct 2017

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Still recovering from our bout of gastro, Jill, Marie and I waved goodbye to our fellow passengers as we rested up for a couple more hours:


When it was time to go, we met everybody at a little cafe in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. A yellow warbler pretended to be our barista:

We walked to the bus; on the way, we saw a very large lizard - I think it is what a Lava Lizard looks like if it gets enough to eat:

At the airport, I took my last wildlife photo on the Galápagos (this trip, anyway):


Here are Jill and Marie preparing to board the airplane:

The flight was uneventful; it was cloudy, so I mostly watched the flight map:


We got a taxi to our hotel (back at Parque Historico) and Jill and I did a little more exploring while Marie rested. We saw more hummingbirds:

More dragonflies:

More Fasciated Wrens:

Another Sandpiper:

A Black-crowned Night Heron:


And this moderately large tortoise (I think it is a Red-footed Tortoise but it was very muddy):

Santa Cruz (south), 30 Sep 2017

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This day was fun, but was marred by Jill coming down with a gastrointestinal bug (and then later Marie and I both ended up with it). If we had to pick a day to have this happen, this was a good day (no airplanes involved, mostly wildlife that we had seen). Marie and I were not yet experiencing symptoms, so we went on the bus to the highlands. There we saw a variety of Giant Galápagos Tortoises. The first were on the road to our destination:









We of course all got out of the bus to look:













It was a good thing that we did, because one of the tortoises got its shell snagged by a barbed-wire fence. Our guide Fabricio pulled the strand up so the tortoise could get through.

At our destination, we donned boots and wandered around looking at the tortoises. They are on farmland, but the farmers and ranchers are required not to interfere in any way with their behavior or movements.




We also got to see their mud-bathing behavior:



Rábida and Santa Cruz (north), 29 Sep 2017

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Friday, September 29, 2017 found us at anchor off Rábida, the smallest island on our itinerary. It is known for its red sand beaches. We started with a nature walk. There were starfish washed up on shore:


Pretty morning glories:

Quite a few lava lizards:







And we got our best look at the Galápagos Flycatcher:





















We made our way to the top of a hill where we took a group portrait:

On the way back down we passed by a salt lake with birds, including this White-cheeked Pintail Duck:

As usual, the mockingbirds kept pace. This one was rather cheeky: