Galapagos Islands; Part II-My First Two Days in Another Reality Tunnel

In the morning, I retrace my steps back to be at the airport  by 10 am.  There are some glitches.  First, no guide until almost 11, but then Victor shows up and I am immediately impressed and charmed.  Then we wait for a second plane to come in which is late.  All in all, I spend almost 5 hours at the airport before we are ready to leave for the ship to settle in and unpack.  (Note:  This was the roughest part of the whole trip!)

Me, Guy (Israel) and My Roommate Jackson (Alberta) Get Settled

Then we return to Santa Cruz Island for a trip to the highlands passing the twin craters en route.  We hike into the highlands through mud and El Chato Lagoon looking for giant tortoises in the wild.

Looking for Land Tortoises in El Chato Lagoon

Spotting a footprint, we know we are on the right track.

Galapagos Land Tortoise Footprint

He's a Big Fellow

Then we do a hike through lava tubes before returning to the boat.  A welcome dinner and meeting the crew caps off the evening.  We retire and about 11 pm the boat departs for Genovese Island.

Day 2–Genovese Island-Darwin Bay-El Barranco–181 photos taken

We awake docked off Genovese Island and it is like another world.  The only other boat is the National Geographic Endeavor.  After breakfast we take the Zodiac to shore for a wet landing.  The frigates are courting and breeding.  The males puff out a big red chest pouch to attract the females.

Male Frigate Bird Struts His Stuff

Male Frigates Compete for the Gals Affections

As we begin our hike, we see a few Galapagos Sea Lions lazing on the beach.  One of the amazing things is these animals and birds have no fear of humans so you can approach rather close.  Walking further, I see a midsized Marine Iguana hanging out by a sea lion.

Galapagos Sea Lion

We pass many Nazca Boobies, some are guarding the one or two eggs that they lay.  The male and female take turns incubating the eggs while the other looks for food.  A few have hatching chicks as well.

Nazca Boobie

After the hike we go for a morning snorkel before returning to the boat for lunch.

Snorkeling off Genovesa Island

Note:  Many of the underwater photos in this and subsequent Galapagos blogs were taken by our extraordinary guide Victor and by Guy a passenger from Israel, both of whom graciously consented to share these images.

During and after lunch, the boat makes a short navigation to Darwin Bay where we disembark for another hike.   On the far side of the island, we see a short haired owl almost invisible in the matching brush.

Galapagos Short-Haired Owl

After our hike we do another snorkel.  This was to be our pattern for the full eight days, i.e., a morning hike and snorkel, lunch on board, and an afternoon hike and snorkel, usually on another island.

Snorkeling Under Darwin Bay

Back to the boat and a wonderful dinner.  After a little stargazing everyone is ready for bed early.  The boat will leave about midnight for our next stop.


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17 Responses to Galapagos Islands; Part II-My First Two Days in Another Reality Tunnel

  1. The Travel Chica May 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Amazing photos! I especially love the one of the path with the trees hanging overhead.
    The Travel Chica recently posted..My Daily Toilet Paper Allowance and More Bazaar Rules

    • Philip May 28, 2011 at 5:09 am #

      Thanks Stephanie. It was a very special (and muddy) place. Hope things improve in B.A. soon for you.

  2. Sussy May 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    Wow! Beautiful pictures and I feel like your story-telling is an envisioning meditation for me! It’s like I’m there now…thanks for sharing your magnificent experiences!

    • Philip May 28, 2011 at 5:12 am #

      Wow, Sussy…that might just be the most beautiful comment anyone has ever left for me. You’re gonna love it when you come down here!

  3. Steph May 28, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    Gorgeous photos. I love the fish and the bird with the puffed out red throat!

    • Philip May 28, 2011 at 8:26 am #

      Thanks Steph. Typical male, puffing out his chest, ha ha

  4. Natalia June 6, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Hi Phillip!

    Mindy sent me your blog… Looks like you are having a great time. I am happy to see you looking so happy and well.


    • Philip June 6, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

      Hi Sweetheart!!
      It’s so wonderful to hear from you. I think of you often. Big love to you from your uncle!!!!!

  5. William August 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Incredible!! I love that bird with the red. Galapagos seems to be a photographer’s paradise! I hope to visit it one day.
    William recently posted..Family Spirituality

    • Philip August 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

      Thanks William for the comment and for stopping by. I highly suggest going if you are anywhere near Ecuador in your travels.

  6. Brenna December 25, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Amazing photos! I just love that you see a wide variety of animals along the way! The sea lion is just uber adorable!
    Brenna recently posted..Falling in Love with the City of Cebu

    • Philip December 26, 2011 at 9:07 am #

      Thanks Brenna. The animals are amazing there and they have no fear of humans, on land or in the water.

  7. Carlos August 18, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    Hi Phillip, beautiful experiences that you have lived !. I was researching fossils of giant tortoises of Quaternary from Argentina, and my interest me to use the photo of the footprint (Galapagos Land Tortoise Footprint), it is possible ?.

    • Philip August 18, 2016 at 6:50 pm #

      Yes Carlos, you may use it as long as you give a photo credit to

  8. Philip October 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Thanks for the mention. I enjoyed your post.


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