Seymour Norte and Santa Cruz Islands, Galapagos, Ecuador Thursday January 26, 2017

We got to breakfast and saw that the covered outside table was once again reserved for the J Party. Did they arrange this when they checked in that they would get this table for all their meals?

We headed indoors, and one of the nice members of the group asked us if we wanted to sit outside as we hadn’t had breakfast there yet. So we did, and I thought better of some of the members of the J group. Later when the rest of the group got to the dining room, there were a few glares in my direction. So I have since decided to forgive the group, even after getting a stink eye from some of them. I wish them a lifetime of happiness and I do not wish digestive issues on them anymore! How magnanimous of me! It really was a lovely spot for breakfast.

After breakfast we walked to the bus stop where we would be picked up for our last full day in the Galapagos.

These are the castitas, where some of the J party stayed in. Two of the group ended up getting their rooms moved as they had no hot water in their room and were moved to one of the villas, like ours. I was not sure if they got the Presidential villa or not!

The professional pictures used a much better camera angle!

We loaded into the van and were off for another action packed day with Natalie, The J group and the rest of the gang on the Sea Finch! We had some new people on the cruise also. Today we hoped to see some sea lions, marine iguanas, on Seymour Norte (or North Seymour!), and in the afternoon go swimming on a beach on Santa Cruz.

Here is Steve in his spot on the boat. Bags on the right were tossed there the J foursome. They sat there maybe an hour on our seven hour trip. My bag is behind Steve. The cushions were very wet, so I sat on the bag most of the time.

I am all bundled up for another day in the Galapagos. Could you tell it was me? Many people had gloves on also to prevent sun damage. Having a shirt a couple of sizes too big, really helped in trying to create a breeze. I wore a buff that Steve uses bonefishing in the Bahamas. My shirt was one of Elliott’s .

We are off. The hatch in front is for the crew below who were working below making lunches and stuff. I was never sure how many crew there were. The guy working the Zodiac was wearing a hat, buff and glasses. I couldn’t tell if he was the man making our lunch! Were they the same person or not?

Steve is enjoying the view. He always has a good attitude when we are traveling. I would say with confidence that he would be an excellent companion if you were looking for a traveling partner. However you must tolerate your traveling companion going off fishing at times!

This is Mr. J. He did know about cameras, scuba diving and snorkeling. In fact, we learned about full face snorkeling masks through him and his wife. They were using them, and they worked well. We ended up buying them for our trip to the Maldives in January 2018. If you want to, you can reread those blog posts. Or not.

Now even though I have forgiven them, I still get to report on their behavior on the trip!

Looks like I could still get a sunburn on the bridge of my nose and the v of my neck. I had Sally’s Go-Pro on. We won’t know until I get back if I got any good video. I think the device would be really good for skiing and riding down hill on a dirt bike. Possibly fishing, but your would probably have a lot of wasted film. It’s kind of hard to remember to turn it on if you have a fish on.

It is two years after this trip and we have still not reviewed our Go-Pro video. That is a terrible turn around time!

Here are two blue footed boobies. We never got to see any of the red footed ones. A disadvantage of doing the land based tours is that you only get to a few of the islands. We were unable to see penguins, red footed boobies, and the flightless cormorants. There are two loops for the sea based tours also, so even if you were to go for a week, you might see only half the islands!

We did see a swallow tail gull. It is the only nocturnal gull.

Another blue footed booby! People just love saying booby! Especially our guide, Nadine who sounded like Inspector Clouseau. Our guide Lorena, from Guayaquil, told us when Hooter’s opened, they were offering the waitresses $1000 to get breast implants.

Here is the famous frigate bird with his red breast all puffed out, trying to attract the female sitting next to him in the tree.

Here we see two frigate birds sitting in a tree. No, they are not k-i-s-s-i-n-g! The bird on the left is the male, “pooch”, and the all black female is on the right. The frigate bird is also called the pirate bird as they steal food from other birds mid flight!

Here is a land iguana sitting in the shade of the prickly pear cactus. Can you find him? It was very hot on our excursions. Island excursions for those staying in boats, usually went out 8-10 am and then 4-6 pm. Those that stayed at hotels and then went out on boats were on the islands from 10-2 pm. This was the hottest part of the day. During this time boat based excursions would rest or snorkel and swim.

Here is a land iguana. The sea iguana can stay under water for over an hour!

Can you see the birds in the nest?

A better view.

This is a dead bird. Unfortunately they don’t all survive. Survival of the fittest.

Another land iguana. Not as yellow as the one I had shown you previously.

These are abandoned nests of the boobies. The white rings are guano (poop). The boobies were done nesting.

Two frigate chicks in the nest.

Again, the closeup. The bird on the left is older than the bird on the right.

Here is a video of the frigate birds flying and soaring around. At times you could see the red pouch filled with air. Or as Natalie would say “pooch”! She told us that sometimes the birds can even sleep when they fly!

Another blue footed booby. Below, is a picture taken by a professional with a better lens.

We will have to come back and see the other islands and the animals that we missed. We would have to do a cruise, and get the transdermal patch to prevent sea sickness. However what will I do if I am surrounded by people on the boat that annoy me? I just have to blog about them!

The rock on the left looked like a popular spot for birds to poop on. It was interesting to see how the powerful surf both flattened and stacked the rocks!

The water was a gorgeous blue. The island on the right is called Gordon Rocks. We thought it was Gordon Ricks due to Natalie’s accent. It is a favorite scuba diving spot. The diving here is supposed to be good, but very expensive. As Steve and I don’t dive I couldn’t tell you if this is true.

Another dead bird carcass. This one was picked clean.

The brown blob center top is a sea lion!

Here is the Alpha Sea Lion patrolling the beach. He is looking out for sharks who might want to eat the sea lion pups.

The alpha male, sea lion!

Can you spy the iguana?

There he is!

One last shot of a sea lion frolicking near our approaching Zodiac. You might wonder why he has a white belly. I thought that it blended in with the guano on the rocks. Steve says it is to blend in with the sky when you look at them from below in the water. I think Steve is correct. He sometimes is, you know!

You can see orange shirt in my picture. I should have cropped her out, but I have more fun making nasty comments about her, trying to hog into my life!

Great crashing surf. We had trouble landing due to the surge. One elderly gentleman on our group had difficulty getting in and out of the boat so he didn’t go on our afternoon expedition to the beach.

Long whiskers, little ears, strong flippers and muscular bodies on the sea lion. Hmm. Reminds me of Steve when he had his beard! Except Steve has body appropriately sized arms and hands!

The snorkeling group was ready for their adventure. Nadine in the bikini has an amazing body. You could have one too if you snorkeled, swam and hiked every day! That, and genetics also. The man on the left was wearing a bathing suit, it was just riding low! Mrs. J was wearing a pink hat, and Mr. J had on a tan hat and a snorkel shirt.

You can see one snorkeler here, the rest were in the area. The Zodiac boat would stay close, you only had to signal and the driver would come and get you. This time I elected to stay on the boat and out of the sun. I had a very interesting conversation with a gentleman who teaches reading for people with dyslexia. He was brought on an all expensive paid trip here to teach a young boy whose parents run a tented eco lodge on Santa Cruz Island.

Lunch was a buffet. Chicken, rice, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, and I think apple slices. Sometimes they tasted like apples, and sometimes not. It was amazing how much of an appetite we worked up hiking in the sun. The hikes were about 90 minutes, with plenty of stops to admire the wild life. Just no shade! No parasols or selfie sticks are allowed in the parks of the Galápagos.

Carrot cake for dessert.

We have now taken the Zodiac and landed at on Santa Cruz Island. We will take a hike and then go for a swim at Las Bachas Beach.

This is called a wet landing because you do get wet!

Here is Nadine holding an empty carcass of a Sally Lightfoot Crab that had discarded its old shell. You can see the human body on the right that also needs some shedding.

In this area, sea turtles lay their eggs. We didn’t see any sea turtles on land today.

The vertical lines near the shrubbery are iguana tail prints.

A sea turtle swimming.

This is a marine iguana. You can tell the difference because this guy has spines on his back.

This is a brackish pond. There is a pink flamingo in the back, but he was hard to see. There was only one at the pond today.

The iguanas were so much fun to watch!

Some of the marine iguanas and land iguana mate on Santa Clara Island. However the offspring die before they reach sexual maturity. We did not go to Santa Clara.

Aren’t we cuties? The people from the hotel that I dislike were going on a one week catamaran cruise with 16 people and then a 2 week tour of Peru. Not sure if I could travel for a month with anyone. I tolerate Steve but then we have been going out for 40 years. The anniversary of our first date is February 5. We went to see Family Plot, an Alfred Hitchcock movie. I can tell you that I wore jeans and a Huk-A-Poo shirt as that is all that I wore back then. Plus my brown shit kicker boots.

Here is the group swimming in the ocean and an incoming frigate bird. Would you believe that no one on our trip was pooped on by a bird?

Steve keeping his glasses on and his head above water. He said that there were very strong currents. I sat on the beach in water up to my waist, until a big wave came. I think that I brought many small shells in my bathing suit back to our room, but not on purpose! I was very good and didn’t remove any rocks or shells from The Gal├ípagos Islands!

We are heading back to the Zodiac, and then to the Sea Finch where we will disembark and take the van back to the Royal Palm.

Here is where a lot of cargo is transferred to Santa Cruz Island. Food is vey expensive on the island. Recently there was a change in contracts of the cargo handlers to friends of the government. Prices have skyrocketed. The elections are coming in two weeks. All of the Ecuadorians that we talked to are very unhappy with the present government. They have been in power for the past twelve years. A lot of contracts go to friends of the government. A lot of the oil money has disappeared. People are also unhappy that the Chinese have bought many mines.

Our last sunset.

We had fish again.

Dinner was inside again as the veranda table was reserved by the J party. Not only was the circular table reserved, but the picnic table next to it was occupied by the group! I got pretty steamed by then. Why was the table reserved for them from 6:30, as they didn’t eat until 8:30? Couldn’t they just reserve it for 8:30, and others could use it earlier?

We thought we weren’t going to see stars tonight as it was partly cloudy earlier. However the clouds lifted and we got to see some stars. We had gone in earlier, so they weren’t as bright as last night’s.

Do you use pictures on your Christmas cards?

Do you need to shed some pounds?

Does your bathing suit accidentally fall off on purpose?

Bonus Question: Have you ever been pooped on by a bird?

Super Bonus Question: Would you take Hooter’s up on their offer to increase your breast size? Why or why not? Please limit your answer to 250 words.

Belize, Monday February 18,2017

Steve’s fishing days for our vacation were over, and so the two of us actually hung out together. It does happen once in awhile on our vacations. Steve likes to keep busy, and I like to hang out and stare at tattooed men.

Look at this plant. I think it would be very painful to accidentally fall on it. I better stop looking at tattooed men, or Steve might push me into one of these bushes. It would probably poke my eye out.

Steve is very happy about our adventure today. We were going to go snorkeling and have lunch on one of the cayes or islands in the Caribbean Sea. They don’t call it the Atlantic Ocean here. I don’t know why. Cayes is pronounced keys.

There was a hummingbird feeder on the veranda, and I liked to sit near it at breakfast and lunch. This is a short video of the birds feeding at the feeder.

I ordered watermelon juice with my breakfast. No picture of my coffee but I did have some.

I was back to fried eggs and bacon for my breakfast. Steve ordered the scrambled. He thought his breakfast was a bit skimpy. We were told to report to the front steps of the building at 8:30 for our Jeep ride to the marina. As Steve always feels that on time is 5 minutes early, we were waiting at 8:25. There were other six people who were supposed to go with us who did not show up in a timely manner. Finally two showed up, they were one of the French couples that had gone up and down the steps to the river.

Mr. French man said that “We are French, and we are always late, and our friend is always later!” I was a bit annoyed at this, but tried to remember that we are on holiday and to just relax. The rest of the group showed up ten minutes later and we were off.

This is the marina that we were departing from. It is the same marina that Steve went to for his fishing adventures.Here is the boat we were going to go on. Everyone got a life vest to wear.

I look great in mine!

Our first stop was to drop off the cook and our supplies for lunch. We would be returning here after our snorkeling. We got to wander the very small island. It was a resort and went out of business a few years ago. I don’t think I would have been happy here. Guys who just wanted to fish, belch and sleep would probably enjoy themselves.

One of the boys on our excursion was fascinated with the ants. They had made quite the ant trail.

Steve was fascinated by the thatch ceiling. No, he is not going to try to have this replicated in any of our homes.

Steve liked this art work. It was pretty rusty, but it represented a school of fish.

Soon we reached our snorkeling spot. The anchor was dropped and we got ready to go into the water.

Steve put his flippers on and was first to go in. Sorry, but no pictures of us in our masks. I should have asked one of the French guys to take our picture, but “Eh, bien!”

Here are Steve and the rest snorkeling, I quit early. I talked to one of the French ladies, but her accent was a little too thick for me to understand. Here is our guide, he found two conchs and wanted to know if they should be saved for lunch. We all told him no. I was surprised that the French said no, as I though the French love escargot. Here is our guide acting silly and pretending he was the conch god!After we snorkeled we went to another little island. No doubt Steve is looking for fish. The French family wandered around. I stayed near the boat. There was a lot of sea weed that had arrived in the area. In fact many areas have been bothered by Sargassum. We stopped at the Ranger station to pay the fee to visit the national park that we were visiting.

Soon it was back to the deserted island again for our lunch. A table was set up inside the building for us to eat at. There was a bar set up for drinks also.

There was cold lobster salad, grilled chicken and fish. Although lobster season is officially over until the lobsters finish mating you are allowed to serve lobster that has been previously caught and frozen.There was also a warm green salad, plantains and cole slaw.

Warm soft tacos also. I had a little of everything. The French group asked if they could move the tables outside. I of course thought this was crazy. That there must have been a reason for us to sit inside, maybe it would cut down on the bugs. So Steve and I ate inside, and tried to keep the food covered from the flies that came in through the open doors and window. Steve and I walked around the decaying resort. It was pretty creepy. This must have been the old fish tank in the dining room. I followed Steve down to the pier.

We took a look at the schools of swimming fish. Those are not weeds, but many fish!

Steve wandered off to the bar and found out that we could have Mojitos or Daiquiris so he brought back one of each.

We decided to joint the French family sitting outside. Here is the sugar cane that we could nibble on if we chose to.

It was enjoyable be talking to the one of the French guys, the ladies had wandered off elsewhere, the kids were fooling around and one of the French guys was taking pictures (Mr. French Guy #1). It turns out the Mr. French Guy #2(who was the late arriver this morning) worked for a man that Steve knew. Talk about a small world! He was probably late this morning as he was talking on the phone to the guy that Steve knew!

Steve and I both told Mr. French Guy #2 that it was the better decision to move the tables outside. As Americans, we tend to follow rules and think that there must have been a reason to keep the table inside. Mr. French Guy #2, said that the French don’t care what others think, and that if they think it is nice to move the tables outside, they will do so. He said, that the real reason the tables were not brought outside is that the staff is lazy, and didn’t want to move them back and forth! We heartily agreed!

We were offered some local chocolate. It was very good.

Then there was fresh coconut. Here were almonds and watermelon. The almonds were from trees on the island. They had fallen to the ground, birds had eaten the outer shell, and our guide smashed what was left for us to eat.

This required a lot of work to do!

We saw some frigate birds flying around. Lots of them. They are called the pirate bird, as they attack the cormorants and cause them to drop fish that the cormorant have caught. The frigate bird then steals the fish. The frigate bird has feathers that are not water repellant so they can’t catch their own fish. They liked to hang out at this island.

We had chips on our way back to the marina. Pico de gallo also.

Punta Gorda has one bridge over the river. It is a one lane bridge.

Coming in for a landing!

This was our boat, and the gear that the staff unloaded for the day. Our boat was called the Kulcha Beach.

When we got back to the Lodge I took a picture of Steve’s picture from yesterday. Like most lodges, anglers submit their pictures and people think that they too will catch a fish. Steve’s fish was a lovely fish.

These are the horses that you can ride on at Copal Tree Lodge. I am not sure if I showed you them before or not. I thought it was a bit too hot to ride in the jungle.

I saw the two yapping doctors at dinner and asked if they caught any fish today. They had nils, for two days in a row. Superior Steve caught nil the first day, and then a fish on each day following. Well, now I have jinxed Steve for the rest of the month. But, as he is not fishing the rest of the month, ha ha to the evil fishing spirits. Let’ s hope they will forget what I said and let Steve catch a fish in March!

We went to dinner early and I had a “Happy Mama”. I wasn’t too happy with it. Give me my fruity martini any day. I should have asked the bartender to just make me a fruity rum drink. Hold the chartreuse, gin and bitter. Steve had a Dark and Stormy, but I forgot to take a picture of it.

Chef’s amuse bouche was pico de gallo on a plantain. Not my favorite.

Steve and I shared the grilled vegetable salad. There were too many grilled vegetables on it, to make me happy. I kept looking for pineapple in my salad!

I didn’t see anything on the menu that I was crazy about, so I asked the waitress if the chef could give me a piece of fish. Success! I am not sure what the purple stuff was. I didn’t care for it whatever is was, but the fish was good.

Steve had the chicken Bolognese. We have had it at home with turkey, but not chicken. He said it was quite tasty.

For my dessert I asked the waitress if instead of the cream puff with rum raisin ice cream and caramel sauce I could have vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce and she said Yes!

Do you ask for substitutions in a restaurant?

Are you French?

Do you show up early, late or never at all?