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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

GALAPAGOS - PHOTOS

Driving through the high parana - the mountain pass between Cuenca & Guayaquil

One of the lovely kakes on the pass

Land Iguanas in the local park in Guayaquil - there are heaps of them

The city of Guayquil from the lighthouse lookout
Our first day on the Galapagos - the San Jose is moored offshore


A Sally Lightfoot crab

Lots of baby tortoises in the Darwin Centre

Male Marine Igunanas having a territorial dispute on the beach 

A lovely volcanic lake - one of our many walks - see the San Jose in the background

John with one of the locals - they really got in the way!

Our fabulous group

These guys love sunbathing

These 2 should get a room

Lots of locals

Another great spot to snorkel

John is very proud of this photo - we could almost touch these guys

A Marine Iguana swimming - a rather scary sight - I wasn't so keen to meet these guys face to face

Those little penguins race past on their quest for food

One of our boat trips

Us on board

Swimming with stingrays....keep well away John

A juvenile hawk

Me & my mate....he couldn't be bothered moving

Feeding time on the beach

Another lovely walk

Pelicans here are smaller & darker - but very tame

Another hawk

Volcanic shoreline

More of these guys

Massive land tortoises

This land tortoise is in the "wild"

Land Iguana, also in the "wild"

What boys will do to attract the girls - a Greater Frigate bird

Boy can those sea lions move in the water

Love the blue feet of the Blue Booby

Not going to get to close to this guy

Love swimming with these turtles

GALAPAGOS - A BONUS TRIP


From Cuenca we have a final mountain range to cross before we head to the Pacific Ocean. There is some magnificent high country before we reach the summit. From here on we are surrounded by low cloud and it starts to rain. Sadly no views of the magnificent, aptly named, cloud forest. We stop for the night at a petrol station before we reach the Pan-American Highway. The next day we descend to the coastal plains. There are crops as far as the eye can see…. bananas, sugar cane, rice & cacao. It’s not long before we reach the huge city of Guayaquil. We find our hotel and check if it is OK to leave GR2 in their car park. Yes!! Great so we head to the city to explore. It is Sunday, so traffic is not too crazy. We wander slowly along the malacon (waterfront) it is hot & humid. We even manage 500 steps up the hill & lighthouse to look the city. Eventually we return to our hotel. Oh no!! We see that there is a bar over the driveway entrance. We end up over the road in a rather grotty, secure (we hope) carpark with the owner & family living in a shack.

We don’t fly out to the Galapagos until Tuesday, so we spend Monday getting a few jobs done, & decide to find a better spot to store GR2. Eventually we find a great 24hr guarded & secure parking area. We feel much happier leaving GR2 there for a week while we are away.

It is only an hour and a half flight to The Galapagos, but it is a whole world away. How can words describe this magical place? Better to look at just a few of the many photos I took. We had a lovely week on board our boat, the San Jose. There were just 11 passengers to the 9 crew. More than half of us had booked last minute. It was a great group of people. We all mixed well & John had the best time ever talking to lots of “other” people.

Our days were filled with heaps of excursions. Usually 2 land trips involving a gentle hike, & 2 snorkeling sessions. In between we were fed well (it will be back to more merger rations when we return to GR2). We saw 1,000’s of Marine Iguanas, loads of sea lions, some amazing volcanic landscapes, huge land tortoises (in captivity & in the wild), many birds…the list goes on. The amazing thing was that the wildlife were totally unconcerned by us coming & ogling them. Some I’m sure even sat & posed for photos.

Perhaps the highlight for me was snorkeling with turtles, penguins, sharks and sea lions. Before we knew it our time was up & we were off to the airport. Lots of final Goodbyes and back to Guayaquil. GR2 was safe & sound, but very damp. It looked as if it had been raining all week.

We have just received an email from our shipping agent. The ship we were booked on to take GR2 to Panama has been changed from 7th Feb to 28th Jan, and can we make it on time!!! Phew! As it is already the 22nd and we have to drive through Ecuador & to the top of Colombia, there is no way we can make it.  More emails go back & forth. In the meantime we decide to get moving.

Coming next: Ecuador & our return through Colombia

Saturday, January 12, 2013

MEGA MOUNTAINS - PHOTOS

Traffic in town
Don't you just love the oncoming traffic
The gorge on our way to Tierradentra
One of the tombs - Tierradentra
The lovely Abdode church near Tierradentra
We saw this vehicle crossing the swing bridge we thought was only for walking
Roadworks & more oncoming traffic
Our camp spot beside the river - fortunately no guerillas in sight
Statues at San Augustin
The long slow 40km road
One of the many military checkpoints - no bother at all
Oncoming traffic - not much room!!!
Final tarseal. YAY!!
Our campspot by the canal
 Blancas & Negros festival is on
Getting ready for the street parade in Pasto
Kids getting into the spirit of the festival
We have been painted!!
More glorious mountains
The Sanctuary we didn't go and visit
We got caught up in this parade in Apailes
Our guard at our campspot at the hotel before Ecuador
Even more magic mountains
Central Quito
Inside one of the churches - not the most magnificent!
Quito city
More driving
Chainsawing
John collecting a number plate - he now has a full set of every country in Sth America
More driving
Volcan Cotopaxi
Driving the Quilotoa loop
The amazing Crater Lake
More scenes on the loop
Our "gorgeous campspot" NOT- a building site
Market day
Market Day
Fast food at the market
Pork is the favorite snack here
So too is Cuy - Guniea Pig
This little lamb went to market
Harvesting time
Roadside stall - just choose what piece of pork you want - they will slice it off for you & cook it
Llamas on our way to the next volcano
Vicunas too
Volcan Chimborazo
From our campspot at sunset