We have arrived again! We left Casa Mabell yesterday morning after a quick desayuno at one of our favorite spots we grabbed a taxi to the tiniest airport I have ever visited.
We then hopped on a plane and waved good bye to the frigate birds, boobies, marine iguanas, marine and land turtles, etc. We landed in Guayaquil on time, but our next flight was a different story. We began to descend into Quito, and then abruptly began to gain altitude again. Due to heavy winds, we were forced to circle the airport for an extra hour. We went to the hotel Zach stayed at when he came to Quito with Tom and Lissy, and we are now preparing to explore Quito for the day while we wait for our red eye flight tonight. Tomorrow we land at LAX around 7:00 pm and we are so excited!
The last few days have been super exciting as we wrapped up our time in Galapagos and the trip in general. When I last wrote, we were planning separate adventures: Zach to surf and I to look for the red-footed boobies. Neither of these endeavors was a success. Zach took off in the afternoon only to find that the place he had reserved a board was unexpectedly closed. We found another one, then tried to find a water taxi. The taxi drivers told him that there were no waves and not to go, but Zach wanted to look so he finally found a boat that would take him to Tongo Reef only to find that there were no waves. The big swell all the locals were raving about wouldn’t come in until Saturday or so. Zach returned to the hotel right as I was about to head to the dock to meet him, and we went to La Loberia to look for the boobies. Unfortunately, the people who told us thy were there were also tourist, who had seen the cliff gulls (who had red feet) and thought they were boobies. It was worth it to see the gulls, frigates, blue footed bodies, and gulls. On the way out, we ran into a local surfer, Carlos, who gave us more info on the upcoming swell, swearing it would come Friday. We had already booked a day tour to Leon Dormido, but promised to come ask him how the waves were later.
The next day, we headed off to Leon Dormido, or Kicker Rock, for a day tour. The day started off with much excitement after we saw how clear the water was as we floated near Isla Lobos looking for iguanas, turtles, and seabirds, and after a whale (of debatable species) swam near our boat. We arrived at Leon Dormido, one of the most highly recommended snorkel spots in Galapagos due to the high frequency of shark sightings here. The rock is a plume of volcanic ash that cooled and solidified into a very high rock that has since split into three rocks. We jumped off the boat and immediately were disquieted by the deep blue of the ocean all around us. The visibility was pretty poor, but occasionally the sun would break through the clouds to reveal the sandy bottom. As we headed into the crevice, a small school of fish caught the corner of my eye, heightening my nerves as we neared the edge of the wall. The walls of the crevice were alive with many different species of coral and the fish that live and feed in and around them. As we zigzagged across the channel, we saw below us the dim (and sometimes not so dim) forms of sharks swimming. Most of the ones I saw I think were the small white-tipped and perhaps black-tipped reef sharks, while Zach thinks he saw at least one of the larger Galapagos sharks. Neither one of us saw the elusive hammerhead sharks, who live, lay their eggs, and are often seen in this channel. After a long and cold swim, we headed off to another beach for another little bit of snorkeling (our last in Galapagos), where we saw two types of rays, many fish, a sea snake or eel, and many others. We headed home to pack in anticipation of a late morning flight to Quito the next day, where I began the post above.
As you may know, we are now home in San Diego! We caught the 11:30 PM red eye from Quito to Atlanta. We watched the sun set over Quito as Luis, our favorite taxi driver, gave us a ride to the airport, and we watched the sun rise over Atlanta while waiting for someone to arrive at the Delta counter to help us try to standby for a direct flight. We had booked a flight that took us from Quito to Atlanta to New York to LA. We were set to come in around 7:00 PM, but we managed to get on the earlier flight (although our checked bags didn’t) so we arrived around 11 after a few delays in landing and deplaning. Both the dads and Shay met us at the airport (Shayna was moving so fast I didn’t even see her until she tackled us), and then we met Josh and Hayley for lunch, after which we headed to our respective houses. I have immensely enjoyed walking the pups with mom and sharing little stories with both mom and dad. I am so happy to be home, as much as I wasn’t at all ready to leave Galapagos or Ecuador. We ran into someone on Santa Cruz who was working as a volunteer in a spay and neuter program to help control the feral dog populations that have killed so much of the native life on the islands. I’m hoping to visit again, perhaps bringing my Aunt Liz or Grandpa with me this time to make more of a difference than just tourist dollars will bring, and maybe look into other work there afterwards. In the meantime, Zach and I are preparing to head back to Santa Cruz, California where Zach starts school on Thursday and I will be starting work the next week. We are sad that we have to leave San Diego so soon, with so much catching up to do and so many people we would love to see, but we are excited to swap stories with anyone we don’t get to see this time. As with any adventure, we are only as ready as we will ever be to move on, but we are both looking forward to the opening and closing of these and upcoming chapters in our lives.
I am off to watch a documentary on Galapagos with mom and dad. I am narrating with stories as sites we visited pop up on screen. I will post pictures from the trip soon, any to those waiting for postcards, they are coming! From Galapagos, a single stamp is $3.00, so we decided to hold onto them until we got back to the US. I’ll send or hand deliver them all soon. Till next time, Ciao!