CCC’s Galapagos Chronicles: Aboard the Endeavour and Las Bachas

At the end of August, I had the pleasure of traveling to the Galapagos Islands with my parents, Bev and Tom Marlow, my one of my sisters, Joanna Marlow, and her two children, Claire and Jason Smith.  Together, we had an incredible seven-day journey aboard The National Geographic Endeavour.   The Galapagos Islands, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, were made famous by Charles Darwin and his study of the islands’ plant and wild life.  The diversity of the flora and fauna on islands so close to each other and with such similar geography stunned Darwin and were the “the origin of all my views”.  His brief five-week trip to the Galapagos ultimately lead to his revolutionary and controversial theory of natural selection.  Today, the cocktail camper can enjoy the beauty and mystery of the Galapagos on small cruise ships like the Endeavour, most certainly more comfy than Darwin’s Beagle!

1 Saturday Las Bachas Family Photo on Arrival
The Marlow Clan arrives on the island of Baltra in the Galapagos. There are two airports in the Galapagos: Baltra and San Cristobal. Both airports provide transportation to the Ecuadorian mainland for locals and overjoyed tourists.
3 Saturday Baltra on our way to the ship
My niece, Claire, and I getting ready to board the ship. I know! This picture is super cute of both of us and very blog worthy! (I like my hair in this photo too.)

After settling in aboard the Endeavour, our first excursion was to the beach, Las Bachas, on the island of Santa Cruz.  “Las Bachas”, loosely translated from the English word, barges, is a white, sandy beach with clear blue water.  Yes, the idea of paradise does come to mind!

34 Saturday Las Bachas The Barge
The beach of Las Bachas. The jagged pieces sticking out of the sand are what is left  from a barge that crashed there in 1940s. Las Bachas is one of the Galapagos sea turtles’ nesting sites.
25 Saturday Las Bachas Flamingos 2
A short walk away from the beach led us to a brackish lake, a preferred spot for the Galapagos Flamingo. Flamingos are native to the Galapagos, which means they are found in other parts of the world, not only the Galapagos.
28 Saturday Las Bachas Frigate Bird 5
A frigate bird in flight. This is a female as she has a white chest. The males are completely black. Frigate birds are unable to land on water as they lack a protective oil to prevent their feathers from getting waterlogged. They get most of their food from the ocean’s surface with the help of their long, hooked bills. They also love to steal food from other birds by harassing a bird until it throws up and then the frigate eats the bird’s stomach contents. (Such behavior is definitely NOT condoned by the cocktail camper!)
32 Saturday Las Bachas Sally Lightfood Crab 7
A Sally Lightfoot Crab sunning itself on a lava rock.
21 Saturday Las Bachas Enjoying the View 6
Happy Galapagos tourists taking in the early evening sun.

After a fabulous first excursion to Las Bachas, we returned to the Endeavour to shower and get ready for dinner, and of course, cocktails!

10 Saturday Dinner EM and Tom 1
My dad and I enjoying an after dinner glass of wine. The food was quite tasty on the ship and wine was ever flowing!  Island cruising and the cocktail camper – could there be a more ideal match?

 

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