Every day is a wonder of natural beauty on this tour around the eastern islands of the Galapagos on our luxury ship, La Pinta. With only 14 passengers on board a vessel built for 48 guests, and a crew of many more, including 3 naturalists, we are thoroughly enjoying the experience and the many activities of each day. It takes me a few hours to get used to the sway of the ship as we sail around Santa Cruz island and there are times when my head feels the motion but it is leveling out
A walk on South Plaza Island, very barren on first approach, teaches us about the prickly-pear cactus trees that provide the sustenance for the many gold and dun colored large iguanas that make this their home. The rocky ground is scattered with scarlet sesuvium which contrasts with the green of the cactus. We see our first sea lions here as well as begin our education on the many birds that are only found in this collection of volcanic islands.
On another day, we land by zodiac on a sandy beach on Santa Fe island and walk on a very rocky path with our naturalist describing the specific inhabitants of this piece of earth; lava lizards with red throated females, Santa Fe land iguanas, darker colored than their relations on South Plaza, a small constrictor snake, a variety of birds, and scrubby trees that are dry at this time of year but that produce green leaves for food during the wet season.
We sail around to a secluded turquoise bay and stop to either snorkel or view the underwater world on a glass bottom boat. As I have a cold and the water is chilly due to the Humboldt current this tine of year, I view the fish life from above while the snorkelers enjoy swimming with the sea lions in a deep part of the bay.
Our cabins are beautiful and our 3 very filling and elegant meals, even for this vegan, are excellent. We have a naturalist give us a talk about Darwin and his very limited stay in the Galapagos as we are visiting some of the places he explored during his time ashore. The staff are exceptionally nice and what seems to make the difference here is that the service providers actually seem to enjoy themselves.
Getting into and out of the panga/zodiac inflatable boat requires some sure-footedness and the walking on the uneven rocks, uphill and downhill, is not for anyone with a balance issue. The weather has been often overcast but not cold and the view from my cabin window, of sea and long strips of land without any other vessels in sight, is relaxing. Each day is a new adventure on land and on sea.