On November 10, 2006 we flew from Las Vegas, NV to Guayaquil, Ecuador.
It was not an easy trip! We got up at 4:15am in order to make the
7:30am flight from Las Vegas airport. We should have known things
would not go smoothly when our taxi that was supposed to arrive
at 5 did not get there until 5:30. Fortunately our taxi driver knew
how to skirt around the already heavy traffic. But by the time we
got to the airport at 6:15, the lines at American Airlines were
very long and we started to panic. Forty minutes later we were finally
checked in. The flight to Miami was unevenful. We had a 3 hour layover
until our flight to Guayaquil. But that flight was delayed 2 hours
for a broken exit light! So we didn't get to Guayaquil until 12:30
am. Customs weren't prepared for the crowd so it took forever to
get thru. The good news: Linblad representatives met the plane,
handled all the luggage from the airport to our room at the Hotel
Hilton Colon. After a quick shower, we finally fell into the very
comfortable bed at 2:30am., for some quick shut-eye before our 6:45
am wake-up call!! Travel days can be a real pain.
a quick bus ride back to Guayaquil airport, we took a 1-1/2 hour
flight to the island of Baltra in the Galapagos. There we boarded
buses for the short ride to the harbor where we climbed aboard zodiaks
for the ride to our home for the next 7 days, the Polaris.
We met our Expedition Leader, Lucho who briefed us on the week's
activities, then had the required life boat drill. We found our
cabin, and were reunited with our luggage. The cabins were quite
spacious, with two nice closets and two large drawers for all our
belongings, twin beds, a full window, nice bathroom with shower.
After a buffet lunch, the ship set off for North Seymour Island.
3:30, it was all ashore for our first hike. This was a dry landing
from the zodiaks (aka pangas), on to black basaltic lava. Each group
of 12 was accompanied by a naturalist who explained how important
it was to stay on the marked trails so as not to disturb the breeding
areas of the birds and animals on the islands.
walked over reddish boulders to an area where Frigatebirds were
nesting. The males inflate their bright red pouches to attract females
to their nests. New
chicks are all white, while year old chicks have white
(See Frigatebird Photo Gallery for
more images of the Frigatebirds).
along the trail we see a huge land iguana. The trail ends on a sandy
beach area where sea lions are nursing new pups.
(See Iguana Photo Gallery
and Sea Lion Photo Gallery for
additional photos of these animals.)
Dinner was at 7:30 each night and included a choice of a meat,
fish or vegetarian entree. By 9:00, we were more than ready for