The Galapagos trip, June 12-21, 2001

We fulfilled a longstanding wish in June by taking a trip to the famous Galapagos Islands, 600 miles off the coast of Equador. We had originally signed up for an Elderhostel trip to the islands but cancelled it (to save money and solve a scheduling conflict with the summer meeting of the People's Music Network) and took a commercial tour instead. We are glad we did, since the tour had only 16 members (not counting the guide) for the first half and only 9 for the second, so that we were not part of a big crowd as sometimes happens on Elderhosted tours.  Indeed as we went around the islands we often encountered much larger tour boats, holding 100 passengers, and I think we had a much better time of it.

If you wish, you can see two maps - one of the entire Galapagos Islands, one of our tour in them. These are actually on a handkerchief which Shirley has embroidered to show the route. (230 Kbytes:) Click here to see the maps.

In the Galapagos we felt we were going back to some primeval stage of the world, with volcanism evident everywhere and animals unafraid of humans. It was a marvellous experience to be able to go right up to a sea lion or an iguana or a bird and have the creature be totally unafraid of us, not scurrying or flying away as happens in the rest of the world where the animals have been so poorly treated by people that they have evolved to avoid us. Being able to swim with the sea lions and fish and penguins, as friends, was an unforgettable experience!

Below there are nine sections of photos, with small commentaries. They are digital photos of normal photographs, since the digital camera was only purchased (for $75) after the trip. Because these are photos of photos they lack some of the resolution of the originals, though some loss of resolution is due to their reduction to 24 Kbytes each for quick loading on the web.

Click on the small photos below to view the sections.

8 photos

Sea lions were everywhere! They were some of our favorite animals - unafraid of us and fun to watch and snorkel with.

3 photos

We saw some spectacularly beautiful crabs...

7 photos

The famous Galapagos tortoises have fared poorly as a result of human exploitation and the introduction of other animals on the islands, but we saw some at the Charles Darwin research station and also some in "the wild."

6 photos

There is nothing beautiful to the eye about iguanas but they are interesting and primitive-looking creatures.

3 photos

We should have taken more photos of plants, but here are just a few.

10 photos

The big albatrosses and three kinds of boobies are shown here, some in interesting performances.

12 photos

Here are shots of several other interesting birds.  Did you know that there are penguins living on the equator?

9 photos

The volcanic nature of the Galapagos islands makes for some fascinating pictures.

12 photos

Here are several scenic shots and a few of people.