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Galapagos Islands Photo Gallery - Day 1 Baltra and Bachas

In August 2007 we traveled to Quito, Ecuador, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, and the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos 1-1-00 Nasa Here is a great view of the Galapagos Islands from Nasa.

Galapagos 1-1-00 Nasa

Galapagos 1-1-01 Depart Quito Airport We woke at 6:30, grabbed some breakfast, and met our driver Xavier at 7:00 who transported us back to the airport.

Galapagos 1-1-01 Depart Quito Airport

Galapagos 1-1-02 Depart Quito Airport We boarded our Tame flight, which left for the Galapagos Islands at 9:30.

Galapagos 1-1-02 Depart Quito Airport

Galapagos 1-1-03 Stopping Briefly At Quayaquil We stopped briefly in Quayaquil to pick up more passengers.

Galapagos 1-1-03 Stopping Briefly At Quayaquil

Galapagos 1-1-04 Gordon Rocks and Plazas From Plane From the flight we had a fairly clear view of the small islets called Gordonís Rocks and the Plazas islands off the east coast of Santa Cruz. Roca Gordon is said to be one of the best dive sites around Santa Cruz.

Galapagos 1-1-04 Gordon Rocks and Plazas From Plane

Galapagos 1-1-05 Itabaca Channel From Plane From the flight we had a great view of the Itabaca channel separating Baltra from Santa Cruz.

Galapagos 1-1-05 Itabaca Channel From Plane

Galapagos 1-1-06 Baltra Ships Waiting at Aeolean Cove As we descended to the airport at Baltra, yachts bobbed in the harbour at Aeolean Cove waiting for us.

Galapagos 1-1-06 Baltra Ships Waiting at Aeolean Cove

Galapagos 1-1-07 Arriving At Baltra Airport We landed at the airport at Baltra Island, with Daphne Minor visible just off the coast. The Baltra airport was originally constructed by the U.S. military during World War II as a base to protect the Panama Canal from enemy attack. Baltra is currently an Ecuadorian naval base and is not within the boundaries of Galapagos National Park.

Galapagos 1-1-07 Arriving At Baltra Airport

Galapagos 1-1-08 Baltra Sea Lion at Aeolean Cove We got through the arrival area in the Baltra airport fairly quickly, paying the fees to get into the park. Once outside the terminal we were greeted by the naturalist guide from our ship, met our fellow passengers, picked up our luggage and boarded a bus for the dock area, where sea lions lounged on our seats. Down at the dock, we all put on life jackets and boarded pangas that were waiting in the water. The pangas took us from the ship to shore every day.

Galapagos 1-1-08 Baltra Sea Lion at Aeolean Cove

Galapagos 1-1-09 Eden It took just a few minutes to reach the Eden, our home for the next seven days. The Eden is a 24m, fully air-conditioned first class yacht offering 8 double cabins with private bathrooms and hot water showers. This yacht was built in 1996 and totally refurbished in August 2002.

Galapagos 1-1-09 Eden

Galapagos 1-1-10 Eden Accommodation and Main Room We thought one of us would have to share a room on the Eden, but we were pleasantly surprised when we were told that we wouldnít. Charlotte and my room had a small double bed, while Peter had a room to himself with two bunk beds. The main room in the interior has a bar and eating area, and a social area with comfortable seating, TV & DVD, and library.

Galapagos 1-1-10 Eden Accommodation and Main Room

Galapagos 1-1-11 Welcome to the Eden Our Naturalist Guide introduced himself,

Galapagos 1-1-11 Welcome to the Eden

Galapagos 1-2-01 Bachas Landing on Beach Our first official stop once we were underway was the island of Santa Cruz which was only a short jaunt from Baltra. We anchored off the north end of the island at Las Bachus Beach and hopped in the pangas for a trip to shore. Bachas is named after some barges wrecked offshore during WWII. Las Bachus is a wet landing on a white-sand beach backed by a saltwater lagoon. Bachus was a wet landing which meant we got as close as we could to shore and then hopped into the ankle to calf-deep water to walk the rest of the way. Some landings would be wet, others would be dry. A dry landing meant that we could find a natural outcropping of rock to use as a dock and get off with our footwear on.

Galapagos 1-2-01 Bachas Landing on Beach

Galapagos 1-2-02 Bachas Beach and Boats We land on Bachus Beach where the sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, and a favourite site for nesting sea turtles. The boats are in the distance.

Galapagos 1-2-02 Bachas Beach and Boats

Galapagos 1-2-03 Bachas Barge Remains On Beach The name

Galapagos 1-2-03 Bachas Barge Remains On Beach

Galapagos 1-2-04 Bachas Sally Lightfoot Crab Our guide Johnny took as along the shore where the sandy beach gave way to black rock caused by lava flows. The Sally Lightfoot crabs are abundant on the lava rocks along the water's edge. The young are black and well-camouflaged against the rocks. The adults are bright red and yellow, like this one.

Galapagos 1-2-04 Bachas Sally Lightfoot Crab

Galapagos 1-2-05 Bachas Marine Iguana We soon caught our first glimpse of a marine iguana, certainly among the most unusual creatures in the Galapagos. Charles Darwin made extensive observations on these large, lizard-like reptiles. They certainly well demonstrate the unique evolution and adaptation of Galapagos fauna, developing into efficient swimmers feeding off shore mostly on marine algae and seaweed. A gland connected to the notrils removes salt from the body, which is then expelled by

Galapagos 1-2-05 Bachas Marine Iguana

Galapagos 1-2-06 Bachas Lava Heron The lava heron, sometimes called Galapagos heron, is unique to the Galapagos. Its dark gray color blends with the color of lava as it stands motionless on the lava rockpools around the seashore remaining alert and waiting for prey.

Galapagos 1-2-06 Bachas Lava Heron

Galapagos 1-2-07 Bachas Ghost Crab We paused quietly to view ghost crabs, also called sand crabs, on the beach. These crabs have two black eyes and are called ghosts because of their ability to disappear from sight almost instantly. I was very familiar with ghost crabs, having watched Mr. Krabs on SpongeBob SquarePants for many years

Galapagos 1-2-07 Bachas Ghost Crab

Galapagos 1-2-08 Bachas Yellow Warbler The yellow warbler is a colourful small bird not endemic to the Galapagos.

Galapagos 1-2-08 Bachas Yellow Warbler

Galapagos 1-2-09 Bachas Pelican The brown pelican is found throughout the islands, skimming over the water, plunge-diving, and resting in mangrove trees. Adult pelicans can be distinguished from juveniles by their plumage. Juveniles tend to have gray face, skin, bill, and legs, with a brown body. Adults have a white neck, gray-brown upper body and brown to black lower body. The neck is white, often with a yellowish crown.

Galapagos 1-2-09 Bachas Pelican

Galapagos 1-2-10 Bachas Frigatebird I constantly looked up to see birds swooping overhead on Bachas beach. Here is a male magnificent frigatebird.

Galapagos 1-2-10 Bachas Frigatebird

Galapagos 1-2-11 Bachas Flamingoes We walked to an inland lagoon and saw a few flamingos drinking and filtering algae.

Galapagos 1-2-11 Bachas Flamingoes

Galapagos 1-2-12 Bachas Flamingo Close Up At this close distance we are able to see how the flamingo moves its bill upside down underwater to gather and filter the bottom sediment. Flamingos feed almost entirely on crustaceans like shrimp, and it is the shrimp that provides the pink pigment for their feathers.

Galapagos 1-2-12 Bachas Flamingo Close Up

Galapagos 1-2-13 Bachas Great Blue Heron The great blue heron is the largest of the Galapagos herons. I almost walked past this motionless one near the lagoon on Bachas Beach. It is a fierce and efficient predator and lives of a wide range of marine life.

Galapagos 1-2-13 Bachas Great Blue Heron

Galapagos 1-2-14 Bachas Sunset 1 After about an hour, we ended up back at our landing sight with time to kill so we just hung out on the beach. Peter took the opportunity to go swimming. After a while, the pangas returned and we headed back to the ship. We arrived back at the Eden to find some snacks waiting for us. Sunset this evening was very nice.

Galapagos 1-2-14 Bachas Sunset 1

Galapagos 1-2-15 Bachas Sunset 2 At 19:00 our naturalist guide, Johnny Romero gave us the first of our nightly briefings to go over plans for the next day. After the briefing we had a good dinner in the dining room. We arenít sailing tonight, so we met some of the other passengers before turning in. There are 16 of us on board: seven Americans, three Swiss, two Italians, a Dane, and three Canadians. I have been on many tours over the years, and this was the best group I have ever met - we got along extremely well with all of them. Peter was especially pleased to have three other children to hang out with.

Galapagos 1-2-15 Bachas Sunset 2