We met the local Adventure Life representative in the Swissôtel lobby after another amazing breakfast. From that point on until we reached the Galápagos there seemed to be more "hurry up and wait" than anything else. A through flight from Quito to the Galápagos would be about an hour and 45 minutes, but AeroGal seems to work on their own schedule rather than the published schedule. At the counter at the gate we heard the clerk say about 15 more minutes for at least a full hour. An hour or so late we were off and winging our way toward Guayaquil, only 30 minutes away. There we traded about 20 passengers for new ones but watched more luggage and air freight go into the hold than I thought any plane capable of carrying. Supplies for boats, things like bikes and scooters which were presumed to be Christmas presents and boxes and crates galore containing unknown contents but seemed heavy by the reaction of the baggage workers. After the last bike was probably strapped to the belly of the 727 (how long since most of you have seen one of those still in service) we took off for the Islands.
We landed just before 2pm Central time, one time zone west for us. Immigration, customs and claiming our baggage were about as low tech as humanly possible, but they didn't let one slip past without paying the $100 per person National Park fee. We then joined our guide, Billy and via bus first then Zodiac made our way to the Millennium for a light lunch. By the time we had reached the boat we had spotted several Frigate Birds and tens of Sea Lions resting on the town dock and also on the bow and stern of many smaller boats. After lunch we had orientation and a boat tour. At 3:30 we went back ashore (Zodiac then bus) to visit a beach with many sea lions and several large splotchy Marine Iguanas. We also saw several birds including a Lava Heron and the Small Ground-finch. At 5:30 we stopped to window-shop the town a bit then back to the boat. An orange sunset, dinner and orientation for the next day's activities wrapped up our first day in the Galápagos.
I rambled through our day as if it had a few delays, but was basically what I (Dave) expected the first day of our Galapagos jaunt. That was not the case for everyone signed up for this particular cruise. The boat is built for 16 guests, yet we are only 6! Nine others had a flight within the eastern U.S. cancelled and did not get to Miami for their Ecuador flight. There is talk of a complicated undertaking to catch them up to the boat so they get the majority of the tour. For now, though, the crew outnumbers the paying guests.