Oh my word, this boat was amazing, the rooms were fantastic, the food was so good, everybody on board was lovely, I couldn’t have asked for anything better!
When we got on the boat we were greeted by Tanya the tour guide who sat us down at this lovely table outside on the back of the boat with the others on the cruise, there were three couples and 2 girls and one guy travelling alone, they were all English but one and all fantastic characters!
We spent a really nice night getting to know everyone (though I am so bad with names!) and just spoke with Tanya on how the days were going to go…
I guess what I found the weirdest was that everyone went to bet at 8:30, so Jools and me stayed up and played a bit of Cuarenta and then followed suit.
6am on Sunday we were up (just looking out my window at the islands all dotted around into he distance!) with breakfast (everything you could ask for there was so much food!!) at 6:30 and then 7:30 we were on Seymour, it was boiling, the weather, and we followed the trail through the island, I know this is the place to see birds but I didn’t expect this many everywhere you looked there were so may different species, frigate birds of all sizes and it was their mating season too so some of the shows they were putting on were fantastic, and to be honest maybe if I had just gone there it would have been okay, but Tanya was amazing, she knew literally everything, you could take her off topic of the tour you were on and still she was like an encyclopaedia, and I really think it made all the difference in the world.
Having Tanya on board really made you appreciate everything more, and she didn’t rush, she was enjoying herself too (I think) and well, I don’t know, she was just a fantastic guide!
We headed back to the boat later and went for another snorkel, I was a bit disappointed to be honest as I was one of the last off the boat and everyone at the front swam over a hammer head shark and I only saw it from a distance as it swam off so that was not great but as everywhere here, the water was amazing and just full of marine life.
We got back on the boat for a 3-course lunch! Then a rest as we sailed to Bartolome! Woo! Though as we got there it started to rain and cloud over. I cant explain how annoyed I was, this was the reason I had come on the cruise and you couldn’t see a thing, so we decided to postpone the tour for a but to see if it cleared up and when it stopped raining we headed out and by the time we reached the shore the sky was a clear blue.
It was fantastic. Its not like any of the other islands I’ve seen almost bare of any wildlife, we saw a few penguins, lizards and a very lost looking bird bless it. We kept climbing the stairs stopping every so often to look at the view and for Tanya to explain more, I just loved it. Then we reached the top. The view was fantastic, I didn’t realise just how close the island was to Santiago! We had a completely clear view of the remains of this volcano; I’d never seen anything like it before! Afterwards some people went for a snorkel but I chose to stay on and just relax in the sun…
That night we had another great meal and got told our plan for the next day, we sat out on the back of the boat at the sunset and we sailed towards Sombrero Chino (Chinese hat as that’s what it looked like)
The next morning we headed out onto the island, what I really love about this place is that every island is so different (well the ones to the west at least which haven’t had much human interference) yet they all have a few similarities and you can see how the islands must change over time as you head from west to east. This island was pretty small but had some beautiful birds (and a head banging iguana!) and amazing views of the other islands~ major and minor daffnie were pretty close by. We even had an explanation of the ‘el Niño’ whilst Tanya drew diagrams on the beach where from the pool behind this tiny baby seal came wondering out Tanya facing away from it didn’t see and kept on talking as this curious sea lion came hopping up behind her, so close to her too which you rarely see on the land and then round to all of us, he sat there next to Tanya diagrams as though he was listening for a while and then obviously lost interest once she’d gotten past the sea lions tough years and left.haha
We headed back to the boat where we were greeted by OREO’S wahooo! And then headed out for our last snorkel along the side of the island I didn’t take my camera this time as I just wanted to enjoy the snorkel but once again we saw white tips and hammer head sharks, a few cute fish and a load of coral and cool little organisms deep in the rocks. It was a really nice last snorkel in which there wasn’t much new but still a lot.
Over lunch we sailed towards Santa Cruz again but this time to the northern side where we stopped at Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) for another trail. This was very different to the others, now on one of the newest islands there was a lot more vegetation and the northern side of the island is at sea level still in the escelatia zone and basically the highlands. So lost of trees and plants in out way on a wet mud path through the bushes where at first due to the vegetation we did not see much but finches and millions of spiders which scared a few of the group members… As we got higher we started to spot a few land iguanas of normal size then they just got bigger and bigger. These iguanas were nearly all male and a fantastic shade of yellow. I was quite near the back but Jools was behind Tanya at the front, and in the end he took the lead as somehow he was just spotting them everywhere!? We saw two in the middle of a pretty big fight down the middle of the path, which were a bit difficult to get past then as we went further we saw another two, not fighting but one of the males had a serious gash across its neck and was bleeding a lot. Then as always on Sta Cruz highlands it rained. And rained. And rained. The mud got ridiculous so we made a slightly faster trip back towards the boat, cleaned our boots and sandals and got on. That night we had an amazing meal, out came the white table cloths, all the Crew were dressed in formal uniform and they said a few words, we shared our favorite moments etc. and then had an absolutely fantastic meal with everything you could think of. And afterwards they brought out this cake that they had made on the boat and was still warm! They showed us the very Ecuadorian way of cutting it and drank a toast to the Beagle.
The next morning before breakfast we headed to Black Turtle Cove where we took the speed boat through the mangroves in to a beautiful area which looked spooky and almost a completely different world. I guess it kind of reminded me of Pirates of the Caribbean. It was beautiful and apparently like a shark nursery. We saw some rays sharks fish herons and pelicans then just took in the atmosphere. We then headed back to the boat for 7am and breakfast before we sailed back up to Baltra. After the coach journey to the airport we said a farewell to the others and me Jools and the couple Owen and Sandra headed down to Puerto Ayora once again
I know it wasn’t a long time I spent on the Beagle but it was fantastic. I really do miss it and can’t think of a better way to see the islands. We were on an absolutely beautiful boat not one of the new flash cruise boats with nowhere to sit outside. It was named after the HMS Beagle that Darwin travelled to the Galapagos on and we had an amazing guide, an amazing group of people I just loved it.
So now we’re back on Santa Cruz and its Tuesday. Leave on Saturday morning and right now have no plans at all. I’m gonna go try post some things home to lighten my bag up that I don’t need them. I think I might try go on a day trip but the island I want to visit, Española, doesn’t do day trips and the main thing I would love to see on Floreana is post office bay which you cannot reach on a day tour and then they’re is Santa Fe but you never go on land and well I have done a lot of snorkeling and the guide says its nothing new. In all honesty I have no idea what to do. I’d like to show Jools Las Grietas (where you jump off the cliffs into the lagoon) and he found a pretty cool lagoon close by apparently too. Though he wants to head to Isabella at some point too since he hasn’t done that yet. Suggested he goes for the 3 not 2 day tour as that’s the only way to go up to the volcanoes. I dunno if he’s gonna go or not at the moment he’s in W minds I think O we’ll see how things go in the morning…
Man I want to be back on the Beagle!!
p.s. Apologies for my spelling and grammar again. Mainly it’s the fact I really can’t write this kind of thing well. Secondly I’m writing from my kindle… Esta muy dificil…