On New Years Eve we flew to the Galapagos. We had to leave our bags outside our rooms at 5:30 am and be on the bus to the airport at 6:30 am.
After a 1 and 1/2 hours flight we were in the Galapagos. It was pretty exciting to be at such a special place. We had a little time to wander around and I saw my first iguana.
We took a zodiac to get to the ship. On the way to our ship we passed one that used to belong to the King of Morocco and Grace Kelly. It is called Grace and now is a tour boat.
Then we arrived at our ship.
We got to our room before our bags. Our room had a lovely holiday decoration on the door. Every cabin had a different one.
Then we attended an orientation meeting after which our bags were in our cabin.We got unpacked and I found that my bipap electronic connection had been smashed on the airplane or transfers. I checked to see if the doctor had a replacement. She didn’t, but she called the electrician who said he could fix it in ten minutes. He did fix the smashed part but because a pin had fallen out it still wouldn’t work.
Then we had an excursion back to the capital city of the Galapagos which has a long name but everyone calls it Cristobal. I had to talk Stan into coming because he was so exhausted. It was New Years Eve and our naturalist guide Antonio on our zodiac told us about the Ecuadorian New Years celebration.
For the New Years Eve celebration, people make what they call puppets out of paper mache that look like their loved ones who died in 2016, and then they set them on fire at midnight. There were a lot of them and even some men dressed as widows wailing their grief.
I saw this one and several others in wheelchairs. There was supposed to be hike on this day, but because it was New Years Eve the places we were supposed to go were closed. I was a bit disappointed, but we did see some cool things around town. And our guide told us we were lucky to be in town for New Years Eve.
We got back to the ship on the zodiacs again.
By the time we got back to the ship I was felling pretty sad. Stan’s exhaustion and my broken bipap made me feel like this trip wouldn’t be what I expected. The wheelchairs, plus the college girl I sat next to at lunch who her mom called very adventurous (as in sky diving and bungee jumping) all made me think about what I am losing with my ALS. I have been adventurous (not quite like that gal at lunch) and I was making the mistake of anticipating the progress of my disease. But I was so sad, and this is the only picture of me barely smiling.
But grieving is an important thing to do and I realize it’s part of life to lose your physical abilities. And the grieving made me realize that the Ecuadorian New Years Eve celebration makes sense. Grieve about what happened in the last year and then move on.
I didn’t feel like going to the New Years Eve party on our ship so instead Stan and I visited the bridge.
They actually offered rides into town for the midnight celebration (last zodiac ride back to the ship at 2 am) as well as burning a few little puppets on the ship at midnight. But we were exhausted after two very early mornings and hit the sack. Stan let me use his bipap, saying he breathes better at sea level. So kind of him. I hope that he really was breathing better.❤
New Years Day was much nicer. I realized that I can focus on the present which is pretty damn good.
I started the day eating breakfast on the sundeck so I could begin my gravity feed early be ready for the day’s events.
We went to a beautiful beach with very fine sand. I wanted to try snorkeling from the beach rather than deep water because I haven’t tried it since my diagnosis. I tried it out and was fine until I tried a dive. Instead of clearing my snorkel when I came up I swallowed sea water. Luckily I didn’t aspirate. It scared me so much that I went back to the beach and Stan paired up with two other people to continue snorkeling. It was a nice beach and I relaxed for awhile. I watched kids playing in the water.
Then I had a visitor.
The animals here are not afraid of people because there is no hunting. I took a walk and found something really cool.
It’s a baby whale skeleton and I couldn’t wait to tell the people sitting next to me. Stan was coming out of the water too.
I know I am not the first person to see it but it felt cool to be the first person from our ship to see it!
Then in the afternoon we did a 1 3/4 mile hike around Punta Suarez on Española Island. The hike was mostly on boulders and it was good to have a walking stick. We saw many colorful iguanas, sea lions and mama and baby sea lions, as well as one type of booby bird and babies in the nest, and albatross adults as well as those trying to learn how to fly.
The ultimate destination was a blow hole that water blows out of when the tide is right.
At the New Years dinner I didn’t feel well and left when I was done eating. I spent some time in our cabin and decided to go up to the bridge to be able to see something and get my motion sickness (if that’s what it was) to go away. They let me go out on the foredeck and I was able to watch a lighthouse which helped. I also was treated to birds fishing and lots of action in the water. I started to feel better and went to the lounge for a presentation on photography by Antonio, who has had photos published in National Geographic. I got there just in time to hear what he was saying about how to compose good pictures.
The next morning was beautiful and we got up early for a photo exhibition walk.
We got excellent instruction from Antonio.
Here are a few of the photos from that walk.
Now you should see better pictures in my blog because this is the first time I have taken any photo classes.
And I that is the end of chapter 1 of our trip. I thought I would have more time to write, but there was so much to do and so many wonderful people to meet and talk with on our boat. Stay tuned for more next week.