Galapagos Islands

Next stop: 4 days in the Galapagos Islands. The famed islands are a territory of Ecuador. Instead of the more traditional boat trip around the islands, we stayed in a hotel and did day excursions from there. Our hotel was in Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the Galapagos, on Isla Santa Cruz.

Cacti on the islands.

A giant Galapagos tortoise. We visited the tortoise reserve at the Charles Darwin Research Station, where they house a large number of rescued and endangered tortoises.

Sunset over the beach.

Credit: Tamarah/Mike
A marine iguana hangs out on a dock in town.

The path to Tortuga Bay.

Credit: Justin
One of the famed Darwin's finches of the Galapagos.

Mangroves near Tortuga Beach.

Credit: Justin
Justin and I prepare to go diving.

Credit: Hugo
Justin (front) and me (back) on our first dive. We went swimming with the sea lions. Our divemaster Hugo had an underwater camera that w got the pictures from.

Credit: Hugo
A sea lion. It was amazing how playful and fun they were to dive with. They would swim right around you.

Credit: Tamarah
oddly enough the rest of the crew was snorkeling at exactly the same time we were diving. And at exactly the same place. Tamarah caught this picture of Mike witha disposable underwater camera. The diver in the background is acutally me!

Credit: Hugo

Credit: Hugo
A Moray Eel

The next day we took a boat tour to Seymour Island to see some wildlife. We hit some Galapagos traffic on the way.

A blue-footed booby on Seymour Island. The wildlife tour experience was pretty much amazing. All the stories you hear about the tameness of the animals there are basically true. You could walk right up to just about anything (and they would walk right up to you).

A young sea lion taking a rest

Another young sea lion heads for the water. It chose to do so by walking right through the middle of our tour group. It was almost too cute to handle.

A booby with young.

A male frigatebird blows up his red pouch to attract the ladies.

A young frigatebird

A mother blue-footed booby. Note the chick between her legs.

Land iguana

Marine iguana

Surf and Turf Iguanas (marine in the front and land in the back)

Credit: Edgar

We stopped by another beach on Isla Santa Cruz for swimming and to look a the flamingos hanging out the lagoon.

Credit: Justin
Me drinking a Pilsener, the beer of Ecuador.

We also stopped by a place called the lava tubes, a cavern formed by flowing lava during the creation of the islands.

Credit: Tamarah/Mike
This is either a scary story or an album cover.