Classic Journeys San Cristobal (May 25)
At the Quito airport, we went through the special Galapagos gate, guided by our Classic Journeys representative. Ellen and Rashelle were our traveling companions on this leg of the trip that would stop in the costal city of Guayaquil before heading west to the fabled islands. Four more Classic Journeys travelers (Terri, Nathalie, Jean and Gary) boarded on our quick stop. Our first Island on our land based tour is San Cristobal staying at the Casa Opuntia Hotel. San Cristobal is the easternmost and oldest in the archipelago. The volcanic activity is stationary, but the earth’s crust is moving easterly, so the “newest” islands are located to the west. After settling in to our hotel, and lunch, we headed out to the nearby history building where we got to meet the creatures of the island in pictures and see photographs of Darwin as he looked when he first landed on this island and then later as a sage author.
Before dinner, we drove to a beach where snorkeling was practiced for the first time by some of our group. Tom and Anne decided to stay on the shore because of the jagged rocks that peppered the beach, as well as the waves and current, and because they just wanted to relax. The sea level altitude was just what Anne needed to recover completely from the altitude illness she had encountered back in Quito. We were entertained by sea lions (especially by a young male who was challenging the “beach master” sea lion). A wonderful sunset capped off the day and after dinner, we slept like logs.
San Cristobal Kayaking, Kicker Rock & Snorkeling (May 26)
Alfredo, our guide, had an array of sea kayaks all lined up for us to choose from. There were single and double boats. While Anne & Tom were ready to do a double, Anne began to feel queazy and decided to stay back and recover. Tom struck out in a single kayak which was launched into the surf at the walking distance beach. Once in the water, the swells were less rough and the kayak was quite maneuverable. Today was indeed a water sport day! We paddled for nearly two hours and then after lunch, headed to Kicker Rock for snorkeling. But the day was not over yet as we hiked to one of the original sugar plantation sites.