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Trip Report Cruising the Galapagos

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Cruising the Galapagos

Ship: Galapagos Explorer II
Passenger: 100
Crew: 72
Time: First week of November 2011 after their Holy Week

Islands visited:
Baltra Island
Santa Cruz Island
Bartholome Island
Santiago Island
Femandina Island
Isabela Island
North Seymour Island
San Cristonbal Island

Although we have cruised on “small” ships before, nothing we have done in the past compares. The previous “small” ship that we were on carried 600+ passengers and well over 30,000 tons. With a capacity of only 100 passengers with a compliment of 72 crew members, it is really small. The GRT is just over 4,000 tons, comparing to the typical modern mega ships over 130,000 tons, you get the idea.

We have done our homework; check out web photos deck plans so we knew what we are getting into … or so we thought ….

The Galapagos cruise was an “add-on” to our Peru journey. We flew from Lima to Quito after a grueling 2 weeks where we experienced earthquake, the airplane door opened by itself while we were in the air, in addition to my little tumble down the side of Ollantaytambo. But that would be another story and TR for another day.

We stayed at the Quito Hilton Colon for a couple of days, rested up a bit before we move on. Quito is the government center of Ecuador and they have the best (and the largest) preserved Colonial quarter. We found Quito to be modern and clean, people very friendly, and inexpensive. We visited a couple of local restaurants that were recommended to us while we were in Peru, and we were not disappointed. Despite our poor command of the local language, we were able to get by and had a great time. Our waiter spoke no English although there was other staff that spoke some English. Dinner for 4 with starters and glasses of local wine (no deserts as we were too full) was under $100, and that included the local tax of 12% and tips. We tried exclusively local specialties and the portion size was big.

If you are going to Quito, other than the old Colonial part of town, I highly recommend the Equator Museum. It is a privately owned venture and the experience is unique. We met the owner’s daughter and she gave us the guided tour of the facilities. Have you ever tried to balance a raw egg on a nail? You can actually do it there. Have you ever wondered how water drains (the swirl) on the southern hemisphere compare to the northern hemisphere? Well, you can actually see how it drains right on the equator, move a few feet and see how it drains on the north and then to the other side and see how it drain on the south. The answer may surprise you. Do you want to lose weight without trying? Well, you weight a bit less if you weight yourself right on the equator. Enough about Quito

To be continued …

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