The Champagne Backpacker: Michael's Round the World Trip 2005-2007-- The Adventure of a Lifetime travel blog

Buenos Dias Galapagos Islands

Chris, Josep, And Me

Josep, Me, And Miguel

Heading To Black Turtle Cove

Angeline, Chris, Jeff

The Peaceful Cove

Solo Bird

White Tipped Reef Shark

School Of Golden Rays

Golden Rays In Formation

Paddling Through Mangroves

Mangroves

Panga Tour

Turtle Swims By Our Panga

Me, Miguel (First Mate), And Luis (Host/Bartender)--I Gave Miguel My Hat

Ending Right Where We Started

At Baltra Airport With Morris, A Guide I Highly Recommend


I awoke at 05:30 hours and watched (by myself) the sunrise over the Galapagos Islands at the bow of Eden. At 6:00, we took the pangas to Black Turtle Cove (Caleta Tortuga Negra), a peaceful network of mangrove-fringed lagoons. There we had some fantastic wildlife viewing including a school of golden rays, white tipped reef sharks, and a a large turtle. After an hour amongst the mangroves, we returned to Eden for breakfast and the short sail to Baltra Island, where our eight day cruise would end.

The cruise aboard Eden exceeded my expectations. Morris was a fantastic (independent) guide and the Captain and crew of Eden provided a smooth sail and great service. The boat was very clean. Our beds were made everyday and sheets changed every two days. The bathroom was cleaned everyday. The food was also good. Breakfast was usually fruit, eggs, toast, juice, and coffee, lunch was a buffet, and dinner was served (soup, entree, dessert).

The only negatives on Eden was that it listed about five (5) degrees to starboard (right), i.e., we were always at a slight, yet perceptable angle, requiring us to adjust our balance accordingly during our entire stay on the boat. The other negative was the constant noise from the generator which provided electrical power, including power for the central air conditioning.

As you can see from the photos over the last eight days, a cruise through the Galapagos Islands is truly the wildlife experience of a lifetime. If travelling through Ecuador, visiting the Galapagos Islands should not be missed--it is an exceptional highlight of South America. Unfortunately for future visitors, tourism may soon be limited. A few weeks before our cruise, UNESCO visited the Galapagos Islands and declared that its ecosystem was in a state of emergency. In response, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa signed an emergency decree giving him the power to limit tourist visits. So far, President Correa hasn't excerised this power. But the possibility of severely curtailed visits exists. Hopefully, the Ecuadorian government will take appropriate steps to preserve the Galapagos' fragile ecosystem while still enabling tourism for future generations of the world.

* * *

We were dropped off at Baltra Airport. As Jeff couldn't change his flight without a large penalty, he (wisely) decided to head to Isabella Island. I decided to fly back to Quito and try to get on the next Delta Airlines flight back to Los Angeles. So after three months of travel through Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador, Jeff and I said our goodbyes, with plans to meet again in Los Angeles next month for my 40th birthday-return home party. I want to thank Jeff for joining me on my RTW travels. He was there at the beginning in Turkey and now at the end in the Galapagos. Coincidentally, we started on a boat in Turkey (Adele) and ended on a boat in the Galapagos (Eden). Thanks mate for a fantastic time and great memories!

Unfortunately, upon arriving in Quito, I learned the Delta flight was full. So I returned to The Magic Bean Hostel to spend a few more days in Ecuador.



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