Thursday morning we were at Bartolome` Islet and departed early (6:15 am) for a hike to the top of the Islet. Jim, Peggie, and I all made the trek.
My sister Beth had recommended the movie Master and Commander starring Russell Crowe because it ends in the Galapagos. We watched it the night before we left Reno. It was filmed on this island. Juan Carlos said he was working for a different company when he saw them filming – about 70 people he said: cameras, makeup, retake after retake. The ships in the movie were filmed in Baja, California. I enjoyed the movie even though it was about war between the English and French in the 1800’s.
My favorite thing I saw on this snorkel trip was a brilliant blue star fish.
After snorkeling I went on a glass bottom boat ride.
There were a lot of kids on the boat. I was impressed by how much they learned this week. They could identify everything! But the highlight for me was above the water.
Galapagos penguins! Jim and Peggie got far enough around the pinnacle snorkeling that they saw these guys swimming looking for those little silver fish.
The day before the kids had received zodiac driving lessons.
Early afternoon I got some photo critique from Antonio. Many of my photos from the giant lizard walk were over exposed. The phone’s camera guesses what the exposure setting should be and it is not always correct. And some of my photos should have been close ups. We later discovered the pro mode on my S7 where I can adjust exposure among other things. Also post processing is easy on my phone.
At 5 pm I went on a zodiac ride to Sombrero Chino (ChineseHat).
That night we had a barbecue dinner on deck.
They turned off the lights at one point and a naturalist pointed out features of the night sky with a green laser.
Then Friday, our last full day. Our ship had crossed the equator over night and was in a small caldera called Genovesa.
Stan and I went to Darwin Bay Beach first. We were not able to do the lava part of the hike because of high tide. But birds were abundant.
When we got back to the ship, Jim and Peggie who had gone on the other hike said it was very hot. So we decided to skip it in the afternoon. We did go on the deep water snorkeling trip. I thought it would be cool to snorkel in a caldera. A highlight was a turtle swimming down below us. Stan noticed that I had water in my snorkel and when he tried to help me clear it I swallowed sea water again. I immediately waved my arm and the zodiac picked me up. Stan, Peggie, and Jim got out then too. There was an adventurous older couple with us. I had sat next to the man on the zodiac coming back from the beach another day and I asked him how it was using charades and when I pointed to my fins he said, “I couldn’t use them.” He was obviously disappointed. When we jumped in the water from the zodiac he immediately wanted to get out. Then his wife went snorkeling with Stan and me. I was very impressed by their courage. We found we had a love for skiing in common and that’s what we talked about all the way back to the ship.
We spent some time packing up. We discovered that I only had enough food to last through the next day (Saturday). This caused some alarm since I wouldn’t be home until Monday. I asked the doctor if we would be able to find Ensure in Guayacil. She said yes and told me to ask at the hotel.
We had the opportunity to share our 10 favorite photos with Antonio and he would put together a slideshow for our last night on the boat. It was difficult to upload from my phone. We had to insert an SD card and put the photos on it. My McGyver husband used my earring to open my phone. I brought the SD card up to Antonio in the library where he was uploading. He looked through my photos and actually picked 18 of them. That made me feel so good.
For our last Galapagos sunset we were up on deck and it was beautiful.
After dinner we, along with many other guests, went to the bridge for our 2nd crossing of the equator. It was like a new year’s eve count down as we watched the latitude count down on the GPS meter.
Then the next day we reluctantly disembarked.
We had a nice flight to Guayaquil and checked into our hotel. It was midafternoon so we had time to go out and look for food for me. We asked the concierge where we could find liquid nutrition. He told us there was a pharmacy three blocks away and it would be fine for us to walk. I got one of my favorite photos on this walk.
There were plenty of liquid nutrition choices on the shelves at the pharmacy but we had to ask the pharmacist for 1.5 calories per ml and he had two four packs in back. Perfect!
We had dinner at the hotel’s steak house again. On Sunday, we had a relaxing morning with a noon shuttle to the airport .
On our flight to Panama City, we sat with a young woman in her twenties who told us she was from Guayacil but now lives in Toronto. She had never been to the Galapagos so I showed her some of my pictures, which she loved.
In Panama City we only had about 45 minutes before our flight to Las Vegas. I hurried to the gate so I would have time to eat lunch (we were trying to get back on Pacific time). Of course it was almost the farthest gate. Even though we had already gone through security everyone flying to the United States had to go through security at the gate, shoes off and all. The gate area was way too small for the number of passengers. I was lucky to find a guitar leaning on a chair. I asked it’s owner if I could use that chair and he graciously moved his guitar. He was a veterinary student returning from a veterinary mission to Nicaragua. We had a nice chat. I was able to finish my lunch. Stan, Peggie, and Jim all ate outside the gate and they made it to the gate on time.
On the flight to Vegas we sat next to a nice woman from Peru who now lives in Vegas. It had been a very long day for us. Twice I lost my syringe and tube and had to look under the seats and all through my carry on bag. I am attributing all that to the long day, not to dementia. I had a nice Boogie Board conversation in Spanish with the nice Peruvian woman.
We arrived in Vegas at 10:30 pm. We got through customs quickly. Then we went to a surprisingly empty luggage pickup area. We got our bags and said goodbye to Jim and Peggie. Stan’s dad picked us up and we went to his house only to find my car’s battery completely dead. So Stan’s dad drove us to the RV park where we found that our propane had run out and everything in the fridge was spoiled. Plus there was no heat. So back to Grandpa’s we went. We helped him put clean sheets on the guest bed. And finally got to sleep. I flew home the next morning (without my phone which I had left in Stan’s dad’s car). It was the first time I fell asleep before takeoff -definitely not enough sleep last night. I was greeted by my son and my dad.
Stan stayed in Vegas and got me a new car battery and propane for the motorhome. He also found 6 cans of my food in the closet that we should have packed. He started driving toward home and camped for the night in the Amorgosa Valley and continued driving on US95 the next morning, only to be stopped in Hawthorne because of a rockslide above Walker Lake. After waiting an hour he decided to turn around and take a different route that would add 2 hours to his drive. It was hard for me to be without my phone for about 40 hours. Texting is now my main form of communication, along with the text to voice app on my phone. He finally made it home at 6 pm.
All in all, an epic trip.
With lasting memories for sure! Because my new teenage friend, Fiorella, from the school tour already emailed me another photo and when I asked her to remind me which one was her, she sent me this:
I replied thank you and sent her a photo of my icy rain chain with happy January wishes from up north.
She is also emailing Andy in Spanish to help him with his first year of Spanish. Such a nice girl! I am so glad I met her and hope she will be able to visit us someday.