Monday, May 27, 2013

The Galapagos

David came down for a week and the three of us took off for a week on a boat in the Galapagos.  We had a wonderful time.  First, the other passengers on the boat were from all over the world -- Holland, South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand, Israel, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany.  We were the only Americans, and David was the only one who lived in the US.  Second, we had a wonderful boat and crew and our naturalist was top-notch.  And finally, the Galapagos themselves are truly amazing!!  The scenery is outstanding and the animals are fearless (you can get very close to them, but NO TOUCHING!!!!)  Here are a few photos out of the more than 1,000 that Gil took.

Our Boat, the Yolita II

Our wonderful chef and his assistant

The fabulous crew

Our naturalist, Dario

This little guy rolled around sniffing all of our feet while relaxing in the shade we made.  When we left, he tagged along with us for a little way until he collapsed and could go no further in the heat.  It's hard walking on land with flippers.

Cute baby sea lion

Mother and baby

Lunch time
Male frigate birds displaying to attract a mate with sea lion in back

Blue-footed boobie and her/his egg

You really can get this close  and they have no fear.

Handsome fellow

Nasca boobie, their feet are grey rather than blue.

Albatros pair

Albatros sitting on an egg

Thinking about taking off for a flight.  Albatros are so heavy they have to jump off a cliff to start flying from land.

Albatros preparing to jump off the cliff to start flying

And we're airborn!

Awkward on land, and beautiful in flight.  These are really big birds.

Galapagos hawk

Frigate birds cruising along with our boat.

The female decided to take a break and catch a ride on the boat.

Close up of Mrs. Frigate

More frigates flying in the wind the boat made.  They rarely flap their wings, they just ride the wind, and it's amazing how they keep up with the boat.

One of the finches that inspired Darwin

A different type of one of Darwin's finches

An abandoned finch nest

Brown pelican



Taking to the water

Diving and swimming underwater

Mama sea turtle tracks where she went up to lay her eggs.  We did encounter sea turtles while we snorkeled. 

Baby giant tortoises at the Darwin Center on Santa Cruz Island

Gian tortoises at the Darwin center

Giant tortoises in the wild at a reserve on Santa Cruz


Great heron

Another great heron

Kicker Rock where we snorkeled with a school of shark below us.  It was an amazing experience.

A white tip shark swimming near the shoreline

Beautiful red crabs on the black lava rocks.  They were all over the place and their red against the black rocks was gorgeous.

Land Iguana

Lava lizard

Marin Iguana

Blow hole

These are desert islands with lots of cacti and lots of lava rocks.
More cacti

Red lichen

Dazzling scenery

Strange buildings and goofy tourist on Santa Cruz

More strange buildings and goofy tourists

David and Gil

The explorers

David jumping off the top of the boat

The pirates mailbox on Floreana Island
Our route

Sunset over the Pacific


  1. Hi! My name is Sarah, and I love your blog! I am an animal lover too and that's why I wanted to send you this article below. I live in California, but I am hoping to move to Montanita/Manglaralto later this year. Kind Regards, Sarah ~x~

    The Stray Dogs of Montanita: Your Chance to Help Man's Best Friend

    David and one of Montanita's many stray dogs: he just wants to be loved!
    Anybody who has lived in or traveled through developing countries before will be familiar with the sight of stray dogs. They are so heartbreaking to see so underfed, diseased and suffering. These poor stray dogs are not properly cared for, or neutered, and are left free to roam the streets, multiplying rapidly in the process. There is never enough food to go around and the dogs often end up dying of starvation or from diseases or injuries.

    Here in Ecuador's most famous surf town, Montanita, stray dogs are Everywhere. I’ve noticed them everyday on our way to the beach to give surf lessons, constantly swerving the truck to avoid running over the dozens of dogs lying in the middle of the road in a suicidal manner, too tired to move.

    They don't look too healthy and although they may look rough, they really just want to be loved. Just a simple pat on the head and these dogs will collapse in joy. But at the end of the day, nobody looks after them, there is not enough food to go around, and many of them will catch diseases and suffer painful deaths. So what can we do to help alleviate some of the suffering of these innocent creatures?

    Barak Epshtein first arrived in Montanita nine months ago and set up “Café del Mar” on one of the main streets in town. Everyday Barak sees the dogs around the town and he is sick of seeing their suffering. “Nobody cares about the dogs here, nobody is doing anything to help them,” he says. But he has an idea. Barak is appealing to a veterinarian from around the world to come and live in Montanita for a month, or longer, and work in a clinic neutering and treating the town’s stray dogs for diseases.

    His plan is in accordance with the advice of many animal rights organisations. All too often governments think purely in a short-term economic manner, ignoring the suffering of the animals and killing them in inhumane ways.

    Obviously the best way to help the dogs is by giving them homes and registering them. However in places with large stray populations, like Montanita, neutering the dogs and treating them for common diseases is a great first step.

    Barak will provide a suitable clinic for the treatment of the animals, and other people and businesses in town, such as Montanita Spanish School, will be providing the materials needed. Many others will be volunteering their time to assist with the program in other areas.

    In return, the suitable applicant will have a comfortable apartment to stay in and all food provided for their time in Montanita.

    So if you, or anybody you know, is interested in helping the dogs of Montanita, and have a background as a veterinarian and/or in neutering and caring for animals, then please email the school at this address: and we can put you in touch with Barak. Start dates and time frames are all flexible.

    Kind Regards,

  2. Dear Deborah,

    Apologies for contacting you through a comment, but I could find no other way to reach you.

    On behalf of the editorial team at Women Travel Latin America, I’m contacting you about our 2017 WTLA Writing Competition.

    We are now accepting submissions for the Alone Together anthology, which will be a book of travel writing by women and for women.

    We are passionate about empowering women to travel to Latin America. We want to see more women shake off any fears they may have, pack their bags, and explore new areas or revisit the ones that changed their lives in the past.

    We are looking for engaging, thought-provoking entries that explore the theme of women traveling in Latin America, whether alone or together.

    Share your stories with us; your unexpected triumphs, your moments of laughter or tears, the risks you took, the people you met, and the invisible barriers you broke along the way. Please join us in our goal of showing others that we can, indeed, travel alone - together.

    - Victoria

    Editor at Women Travel Latin America

    Find out how to enter the 2017 Women Travel Latin America writing competition on our website. It’s free to enter and the top prize winner will receive US$100. The top 30 entries will be included in the Alone Together anthology, published by the Bogotá International Press.

    Visit our submission tips and guidelines pages for more information:

    We look forward to hearing from you!


  3. Loan offer at 2% interest

    If you need financial help, do not hesitate to contact us. You can obtain a loan in the range of between 1.000 $ and 1.000.000 $ on very favorable terms in all legality and reliability. To learn more about financing arrangements, please contact us by e-mail. E-mail: