Fall Roadtrip..Crater Lake, Klamath Falls and home

We slept in and then left Medford via Oregon Hyw 62 to Crater Lake.  The storm had brought in rains and winds but we decided to keep our plans to go to Crater Lake and then over to Klamath Falls for the night. Off we went towards Crater Lake with the big Pacific Northwest Storm making itself known.  But we had some beautiful trees on the way!

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The vibrant red just doesn’t show up with the rain

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Beautiful color contrasts

We stopped at a Rouge River trail and scenic overlook to see and hear the power of the flowing river.

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The beautiful river

As we were enjoying the beautiful autumn colors of all the trees, I spotted a car coming towards us with snow on the roof.  The outside temperature was about 48 so we assumed it must have snowed overnight at Crater Lake. As we continued on, snow was along side the road.  Then as we got to the Visitors Center it was snowing, heavily!  Snow was not a problem for our Subaru but surprised us. Luckily, the park service does plow part of the roads and will open up more roads after a storm has passed.

Most of the park roads were closed due to the snow. But they were plowing the road from the Steel Visitors Center to the Rim Village and Crater Lake Lodge which normally have spectacular views of Crater Lake.

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Our disappointing view at the Rim atop Crater Lake

We saw a flyer for this Historic Hotel and may give it a try next time we go to Crater Lake from Oregon. If you want to see some beautiful photos and information about Crater Lake check out this site.

We stopped into the Rim Visitors Center, Store and Cafe and drove past the Crater Lake Lodge which was open but very quiet. Luckily we had been to the lake in summer about 20 years ago, but we will be back! We drove out of the park and headed towards Klamath Falls, Oregon.

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Beautiful fall foliage

 

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Looking out at the beautiful sky & pasture land on the way to Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls was not nearly as busy as the town I remember from my Southern Pacific days visiting there for work.  But the Klamath upper and lower lakes are very pretty and we had a great dinner at the local pub, Klamath Basin Brewing Company.  Best fries I can remember and great Rib Platter and many good beers on tap.  Bob really liked their Notch Eight IPA, I was driving.

Leaving Klamath Falls until we reached I5, we had some rain, but also some beautiful views.

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Rainbows along Highway 62 heading toward I5

Our trip home was long with terrible weather from Weed, CA until we got down to Corning on I5.  The storm hit northern California and we had lots of wind and rain.  Three big rigs jack-knifed on the windy I5 it what seemed like 25 miles.  It was evident that some of the trucks were going way to fast for that weather.  Originally, we had thought about extending the trip from Klamath Falls either by staying in Shasta City or going over to the California coast but the weather deterred us, so we carried on home.

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So much rain!

Well, sadly all good trips must come to an end so you can take time to plan another one! Also, I need time to finish the Galapagos Island posts.

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Fall Roadtrip. .Southern Oregon 

Up early and we took Oregon Hwy 238 from Medford, thru Jacksonville and out to Applegate to visit our friends, Marcos and Heidi. They bought a 68 acres abandoned farm with woodland area last year. It’s their new ‘life project’ to renew the farm land with grape vines, large vegetable garden and remodel the 100 year old farmhouse from the ground up while living in it. Also, they plan to recondition many of the outbuildings for farm use again.

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Looking down on the farm house and out buildings from the wooded hillside

The area is beautiful and they are working very hard to dry in the house and prepare the land before winter arrives.

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The hillside where they are preparing to plant a vineyard.  It is all prepared and should be planted April 2017.

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Great ‘Crooked Barn’ that they plan to restore for use but keep the ‘crooked’ look.

With a light rain falling, we walked the farm and heard their wonderful plans.

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Marcos and Heidi taking their first day off in many months to take us wine tasting.

Then we decided to go wine tasting at a few of the Applegate Valley’s wineries. All were great! So nice to visit on a weekday and enjoy the beautiful trees and gardens in bloom.

First, was Red Lily Vineyards. Beautiful barn restored and reinforced for an event center, nice tasting room and a large winery operation building all tied together with the same architecture. Tastings were ‘testings’ and presented in test tubes lined up in a wooden test tube holder.

Next on to Troon Winery set up as a Tuscan villa with beautiful gardens and cooking class kitchen. The tasting room bar is set up so that guests look out large bay windows to a perfect view of the vines and the mountains. Irina introduced us to the Troon wines, she is a very knowledgeable sommelier and created a great experience.

Next we went to Wooldridge Creek Winery and Creamery.  They also had wonderful wines and gardens too.  With the added joy of various goat cheeses made on the premises available for purchase. Their website also has many wonderful recipes.

Last but not least, we went to Plaisance Ranch which is both an active cattle ranch and great winery. We were given a tour of the facilities and enjoyed a full discussion of wine making with the wine maker and his wife, Joe and Suzi. They were very generous with their time, wine and information. I encourage you to explore their website as it is filled with story, history, recipes and beautiful photography. The wines are wonderful and not to be missed!

 

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Joe, winemaker and owner

The end to a perfect day was a BBQ at Marcos and Heidi’s friends house as the big storm moved in. We cannot thank Heidi and Marcos and Tom enough for such a wonderful day and great dinner company

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We were probably a little ‘tipsy’ by the end of the day, but Heidi was driving!

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Fall Roadtrip..Burney Falls, CA

A beautiful morning, had a quick breakfast at our motel. Then headed back to Hyw 89 North to Burney Falls State Park.  We heard about this from our good friends that passed thru this region as they completed the Pacific Crest Trail this year.
First, we drove out to Lake Britton which is part of the park. Beautiful tree lined lake, so quiet now.  But you could imagine it packed during summer. We loved the stillness and watching the fish jump in the lake.

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Lake Britton, large side

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Lake Britton, opposite the boat docks

Next, Burney Falls. ..Unbelievable; the beauty, full and powerful sound of the falls!

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Location Map

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Burney Falls details

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Bob and Vicki, picture from the overlook

We walked from the lookout point to the loop trail down to the falls.

Then, across the bridge to up above the falls where we saw some fisherman. What a gorgeous walk for an early morning.

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The falls thru the trees near the top of the loop trail

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The stream, just above the falls

We followed Hwy 89 North to Shasta City.

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Mt. Shasta from Hwy 89

We have driven Hwy 5 many times to Shasta Lake and beyond but had never stopped in the town of Shasta Lake. What a nice town, vibrant yet quaint.   We had even better views of Mt. Shasta which stands at 14,752 ft.

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Mt. Shasta from Town of Mt.Shasta

Finally,  had to get on Hyw 5 to make it to Oregon.  Very different landscape near Weed, CA. Reminds me of coming into Southern Spain thru the mountains towards Malagra.

We stopped in Ashland, OR to walk thru Lithia Park, around downtown and to peek into the Shakespeare Theater. We had attended a few performances there when our daughter was in High School.  Unfortunately, we had not made reservations ahead so we just enjoyed the town.

From there we drove the back roads to Jacksonville and Medford. Everywhere you looked, the trees were putting on a display of colors. Beautiful country with vineyards and small farms. We forgot to take pictures in Jacksonville,  but it is so cute and walking friendly that I recommend everyone plan a visit there.

Stayed in Medford, OR for two nights.  Tomorrow, off the visit our friends in Applegate Valley near Jacksonville.

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Fall Roadtrip..Hwy 89 North

Beautiful Highway 89 North from Truckee, CA.  We left Truckee searching for beautiful fall colors and new destinations for us.  Driving north towards Hobart Mills, thru the small cattle town of Sierraville, on to Graeale a golfers retreat, Quincy and Keddie. We had been this far in the past.

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Small creek from Lake Almanor heading to the Feather River along Hyw 89

 

We continued on to Lake Almanor. A large lake with many access points and looks like it will require a return visit for kayaking next spring.

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Lake Almanor near the dam.  A much larger lake than we expected.
Onward on Hwy 89, to the Scenic Volcano Legacy highway which leads into and out of Lassen Volcano National Park.

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First view of Mt. Lassen in the background

Starting at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitors Center we oriented ourselves and set out to explore the park.

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First stop,  ‘Sulphur Works’ to see the boiling mud pots which were very close to the road. Prior to the 1952 purchase of this area from the Supan family it had been a bathhouse and dining hall since 1865.

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The Supan family operated a resort and dining hall

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A sulfuric mud pot

We had a picnic at Lake Helen which is at the base of Lassen Peak.

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Lake Helen

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Lake Helen with Mt. Lassen in the background

Next stop was the Bumpass Hell parking area, overlook and trailhead. The trail is about 1.5 miles down to a great boardwalk thru the geothermal area. Then, be prepared for 1.5 miles back up, but well worth the hike. You may notice the altitude as the trail starts at 8,000 feet.

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Trail view over Lassen Park

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Beautiful stream, looking down from the trail

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The mountains seem to go on forever

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Looking down to see Bumpass Hell boardwalks

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Making our way down to the boardwalks

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One of the boiling pots

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On the boardwalks

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A large hydro thermal pool

We stopped at various view points on the 32 mile road thru the park.

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Sun streaming in

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More views of the park

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Lassen Peak trail, see it?

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Traditional Mt. Lassen shot with the snow

Our last areas were called ‘Devastated Area’  and ‘Chaos Crags’ and ‘Jumbles’ which helped to show the power of the volcanic eruptions in the 1800’s and 1914!

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Moon over Chaos Craig Mountain area

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Jumbles Scenic pullout –  rocks piled up to 300 ft deep, rocks were blasted out of mountain at 100 MPH during the eruptions in 1914 and 1915

A beautiful park which definitely needs more exploration and hiking. We didn’t realize that we could have downloaded an audio guide to all the points of interest before we went to the park.  Most of the part did not have cell service.  Go here to download the audio guide to your phone before going to Lassen Volcano National Park.

We continued north on Hwy 89 along the beautiful Hat Creek and it’s watershed area.  We turned onto Hwy 299 to spend the night at Burney, CA before we will continue north on Hwy 89.

Mostly an RV town with a few hotels.  We stayed at the Charms Motor Lodge which was basic but clean, remodeled and good for the night. Tomorrow, we visit Burney Falls.

Fall is in the air…

Yes, I know this isn’t the next post about the Galapagos. This is a detour post to share the joys of fall. I will get back to finish the Galapagos posts as soon as I have time to get thru the pictures and sit at my computer. 

In Truckee, the cold nights have brought out some beautiful colors.

Aspen Tree, Truckee, CA

Aspen Tree, Truckee, CA

From Truckee to the coast…

We have been on the road a lot.   Took a quick trip to the California coast and came home along the Russian River. Stopped to pick up some redwood lumber at Barry’s Sawmill in Cazadero,  Ca.

Barry’s Sawmill, Cazadero, CA

Fall landscape, Cazadero, CA

Beautiful Fall decorations near the parking lot.  And, gorgeous trees all around.

Redwood Trees

Further inland, beautiful vineyards near Korbel Winery.

Korbel Vineyard

A quick week on the road but oh what beautiful scenery we have in Northern California!  I hope you get a chance to go for a drive near you to see the fall colors!

Next up, more of Northern California as we travel to Lassen National Park, Burney Falls, then into Oregon.  I’m using this opportunity to try out the Word Press App for my phone without bringing a computer along.

Thanks for checking in!

Galapagos – 13

This post is about day 3 of 8 days on the Anahi Catamaran, Sunday, April 24, 2016.  We went to South Plaza Island and Santa Fe Island.

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We woke up early in a cove between South and North Plaza Islands near Santa Cruz Island  in the ‘mistral’ which we would call fog.  At first you are disappointed to see fog.  Then you realize the hiking part will be much cooler and the fog will soon be gone.

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‘Mistral’ morning, or foggy!

Today started with a long hike on South Plaza Island.

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Looking back at the rocks and rocky dock for arriving on the island.

This was the place to see Land Iguanas, Sea Lions and more sea birds than anyone could imagine.  We spent about two hours hiking around the island. The cactus on this island are much bigger and have large trunks.

The various cactus ‘trees’

The Land Iguanas are various shades of tan, brown and reddish.  They seem to match the area where you see them.

Land Iguanas

These cactus ‘paddles’ are the favorite food for land iguanas and we were lucky enough to come upon a cactus leaf that had fell down.  The iguanas were all fighting for position to eat the leaf.  Also, we found that we needed to be careful of our position as they would also come at our group if we got close to the food.

Land Iguana’s feeding frenzy!

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Annie & Ryan’s photos

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Annie & Ryan’s photos

This island had quite varied terrain.  We walked over rocky paths and then out to steep cliffs along the ocean where sea lions lounged and many sea birds were resting.  We also saw a powerful blow hole along the cliffs.  We saw many more land iguanas and small lizards on our way to the cliffs.

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Cute birds, didn’t catch the name

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Lava lizard, about 6 inches

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Cliff area, lots of birds, sea lions on the ledge

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Cliff area

 

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Blue Footed Boobies

 

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Blowhole picture taken by our guide

We Saw sea lions and baby sea lions playing in the rocky surf. We later hiked across  the island to see where the  bachelor sea lions hang out.  These light buoys mark hazards for ships.

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Light buoy

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Bachelor sea lion, resting

Exhilarated and hot, we headed back to boat around 10:30 am. As always, the staff was waiting for us with cold drinks and helping everyone on-board.  During lunch the ship moved to Santa Fe island where we had deep water snorkel after lunch then the boat was moved again. Overall, on this day we did 3 snorkel trips;  deep water and drift current at the end of Santa Fe beach for big fish; then just inside the natural breakwater with sea lions; and finally near the center of the group of islands for eagle and golden rays and a turtle cleaning station  with a turtle actually there.  On the way, we saw a Hammerhead Shark from the boat but we never got to see any while we were snorkeling.

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Deep water snorkel spot with current and big fish

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Second snorkel spot was outside this bay.  We worked our way into the bay.

Inside the bay, the water was warm and clear.  We followed around the point and swam with sea lions and many beautiful fish.  We have GoPro video but it is not yet edited.  I will try to post the video that Kai of our group has finished soon.  It has a lot of footage of this bay and the point.

 


They finally corralled us all back to boat and we had a brief rest then took the pangas to Santa Fe beach. Here we did another long hike looking for yellow ground iguanas that are a different species from morning,  sea lions, mice & snakes. We didn’t see any snakes, which was OK with me.

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Walking into the highlands

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Looking back at the boat

 

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Yellow land iguana

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Small lizard

 

Sea Lions on Santa Fe Island

Back on the ship to get ready for dinner, then after dinner our naturalist Andres Moreano had a slide show of his photos.  By now our group was quite comfortable with each other.  After dark we would usually end up on the 3rd deck (sun deck) which we renamed the ‘moon deck’ as we used it to check out all the stars in the southern hemisphere.

Tomorrow we start earlier,  hard hike then back for sail for other islands. It was hard to imagine that a day could be more action packed than today.  But we were looking forward to it!

Galapagos – 14

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Galapagos Islands – 11

Isla Genovesa, Darwin’s Bay and Prince Phillip’s steps

Overnight was the longest single motor trip we would take. We had put on patches for sea sickness upon arrival and never had any problem.  There was some rocking of the ship during the trip and it was interesting to walk in the cabin in the middle of the night.  Before dawn we were anchored at Isla Genovesa (also known as Tower Island) and looking forward to the busy day.

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Day 2 Itinerary

Having been to the Hawaiian Islands near the equator which have lots of rain forest areas, it was very surprising to see that most of the islands were quite arid and many types of cactus grew on each island. Genovesa is a rather flat island.

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Rocky ground

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Paddle cactus

The island forms around the caldera of an old volcano that has collapsed.  At Darwin’s Bay we are inside a collapsed volcano.

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Looking out to sea from Darwin’s Bay you can see the entrance to the collapsed volcano

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Bob and Vicki at Darwin’s Bay before our walk

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Looking out, they limit the ships that can dock at each location

Today we realized what a great job the Park Service does to give each group a unique experience.  While multiple boats were in Darwin’s Bay each boat had specific times to be on the island and to keep all tours separate.

We arrived at Darwin’s Beach for a hike and then snorkeling. This was a wet landing.  This means you will jump or slide off the panga into about knee deep water so you bring anything that must stay dry in your own small dry bag or hold it high. The boat brings beach towels.  Some people brought shoes to change into but most of us used Teva or Keene sandals or some type of water shoe and also hiked in the same shoes. I had gotten these shoes from REI and really liked their versatility for the water and hikes. Our guide would tell us in advance if the hiking would require more protective shoes.

The key attraction this day was birds;  Red Footed Boobies that stay mostly in the trees and Nazca Boobies which also nest on the ground and Frigate Birds.

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Andre explaining feeding grounds

Blue Footed boobies feed closest to shore, Nazco boobies a little farther out and the Red Footed boobies feed the furthest out to sea.  So each species still nests very close to each other.

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Male and Female Frigate Birds

 

 

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Male Great Frigates have a red area that they expand when female birds fly over

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Male Great Frigate bird trying to impress the female

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Red Footed Boobies, nesting in the bushes

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Red Footed Boobie

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Juvenile Red Footed Boobie, feet still grey

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Nazco Boobie

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Pair of Nazca Boobies

Hiking the island was amazing as the birds were so close to us and ignored us completely. It was mating season and the sounds of the male birds calling to the female birds to land by them were wonderful.

Snorkeling

The water was much clearer than yesterday and we saw many small fish and purple starfish.
We came back for lunch, kayaking off the stern of the catamaran and then went to our first deep water snorkel.

Kayaking was great.  The ship has 4 double kayaks.  We went out two by two and were able to see many birds nesting along cliffs of the rocky coast.  Again, the crew gave great instructions to anyone unsure of kayaking and everyone enjoyed the solitude of kayaking at their own pace.

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2 person kayaks

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Kayaking along the cliffs

After lunch and a brief rest to transfer photo’s and write notes we loaded up into the pangas for a deep water snorkeling trip along the wall near the steps.  Interesting snorkeling with some current but very murky water. Much bigger fish to see.  I was to find out that each day the snorkeling offered a little more challenge.  But with our guides instructions and the panga drivers assistance even the novice snorkelers did great!  The panga drivers kept a good eye on everyone and would keep the boat nearby for anyone that looked like they would like to get out of the water. The pangas had a small ladder that was lowered into the water, so exiting the water was quite easy. We took ‘shorty’ wet suits but the boat also had nice shorty wet suits that could be rented for the trip.  They rinsed the suits and dried them after each dive even if you brought your own suit.

Later we did a dry landing at Prince Phillips steps.  A dry landing means to wear your hiking shoes and the pangas will pull up close enough to rocks, a dock or steps that you can step or hop to without getting your feet wet.

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Everyone getting ready to go on the pangas

I was expecting Prince Phillips Steps to be going up a steep hill without any rails.  Obviously, I had seen the wrong picture.  These steps go right up the rocky cliffs near the point of the island.  It is a stairwell built of rocks of various shapes, sizes and step heights with a very good railing. So, no problem for the Adventurous Chicken to navigate this one!

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Coming up Prince Phillip’s Steps

At the top we followed a path to see an amazing amount of Nazca Boobies with eggs and young chicks.  They lay 2 eggs, most only hatch one or have 1 that lives.  They leave the fuzzy, white baby to go out and feed to bring it back to the baby.

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Mating Nazca Boobies

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Nazca Bobbie settling in to care for egg after mate has left to feed

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Nazca Bobbie and baby

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Juvenile Nazca Boobie

We also were lucky enough to see an endemic owl both flying and resting.  Luckily, our companions shared this picture so I can post. These owls feed during the day.

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We saw many more Frigate birds and began to see a pattern of Frigate birds catching a ride on the ship.

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Great Frigate hitching a ride on the ship

 

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Dinner was served on the 2nd deck

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Another beautiful sunset

Galapagos Islands-10

Welcome back!  The Galapagos Islands were everything we hoped for and more!  Cannot thank our crew and guide enough on the Anahi Catamaran for the outstanding crew, captain, tours, food and accommodations. Also, Rainforest Cruises for helping us select this boat and upgrading our cabin.

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Anahi, 95 ft. Motorized Catamaran

I plan to give you an overview of the islands visited and then group the pictures by type with some commentary.  Until you visit it is impossible to realize how close you get to the the wildlife and how unaffected they are by your presence.  We saw Blue Footed Boobies (birds) on most islands and stood within a foot of them while they did mating dances, tended their young and even slept.  Other birds, iguanas, turtles were similarly indifferent to our standing nearby.  So I hope to give you information about each island, planning your trip, options for visiting the Galapagos Islands and pictures to give you the scope of our visit.  Here we go…

On April 22, 2016 we left Guayaquil, Ecuador airport for Baltra, Ecuador which is approximately 600 miles out in the Pacific Ocean.

Galapagos Islands off South America

Galapagos Islands off South America

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

The airport is a converted military base and the only facility on this island. To reach the inhabited islands you must take a bus from the airport to the ferry or meet your boat at a private dock.

Airplane departure

No jet-ways into the terminal here. Just walk!

Until we started planning this trip, we thought that all the Galapagos Islands were uninhabited except for Park facilities and the like.  Soon we realized that many of the islands have been inhabited since shortly after Darwin’s visit and are quite large towns.  The main source of income is working for the Ecuador Parks serving visitors to the islands and the service industries maintaining the ships, towns and the people that visit and live in the islands.

Arriving at Baltra is beautiful.  As you fly in you get a view of the islands.     All of the people for our cruise arrived on flights near the same time. So we claimed our bags, paid our park entrance fee ($100, cash only) and met our tour guide, Andres Moreno, who escorted us to the bus and to the dock.

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Airport staff ready for the inbound flight from mainland Ecuador

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Wall map shows the options to get to an inhabited island

Overall, the towns appeared quite prosperous and the standard of living appeared better than Guayaquil.  We choose to visit the islands by live aboard boat so that we didn’t have to spend 1 to 2 hours reaching the park protected islands by boat each day.  However, you can also do a mix of staying on one island and visiting the nearby islands and then move to another island and take day trips out.  Some of the guests that joined us on our cruise had both stayed on island doing day trips and also took the 7 night trip or shorter trips.  We found that live aboard boats offer 3, 5, 8 or 15 day trips.  If you do a 7 night/8 day or less trip, you will see either the Eastern Islands or the Western Islands but not both.  We choose the B2 (East) because this itinerary offered the most time snorkeling along with visiting the islands.

Realizing that this was a ‘bucket list’ trip for us, I must say it is not inexpensive but it is so worth it.  Blogs exist that tell you how to see the islands on a tight budget.  We may consider that if we can go back, but we enjoyed this trip so much I think we would just take the B1 (West) itinerary which we missed and maybe stay a few days on Santa Rosa Island and Cristabal Island before and after the boat trip.  I found this blog to be very informative.

At the dock we waited for Anahi’s tender boats (pangas) to pick us up and take us out to the boat.  While we waited we saw many birds perching very close to us and seals just an arm’s length away.  The magic had begun!

We were taken to the boat and assigned our staterooms.  Our bags had been put in the rooms and we were told to take a look around and meet back in the dining room for lunch and briefing.

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Arriving to the boat, getting instructions for entering and exiting the ‘pangas’

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Dining room, set up with 8 per table

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Briefing and rest area

We were briefed on the balance of the days activities and that we would have lunch, then have approximately one-half hour to get our bathing suits on and be back at the panga loading station at the back of the boat for our first adventure.  We had a wonderful lunch and met the great group that shared this trip.  It was an international group; Sweden, Poland, Canada, Australia, United States, Germany, Ecuador and New Zealand were represented with ages ranging from 7 to 70’s years old and we all got along like old friends. The group was considerate and very punctual with arrival and departure times so we didn’t miss anything.

Our first adventure was to Bachas Beach on Baltra Island where we saw lots of seals, old barges that had deteriorated and left structures in the sand and then we returned to a beautiful beach to swim and snorkel.

Bachas Beach with barge remains in the sand**

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Frigate bird on a post

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Large cactus plants, many on the island

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We walked to an inland pond to see pink flamingos

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A closeup shot of the flamingos**

We retraced our steps and went back to the beautiful beach where we had landed and enjoyed the beach with swimming and snorkeling.  The water visibility was not quite as good as expected during this week due to all the current and water movement after the earthquake.  However, we still saw many types of fish, sharks, rays and other marine life.

Back on the boat we explored our home for the next week and enjoyed a wonderful evening.

The 2nd floor – deck, the door to our room, our room, the bar area and entrance to sundeck

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Bob enjoying the sunset

After dinner we had the briefing for the next day and everyone retired early as breakfast was at 7 am and a wet landing at Darwin’s at 8 am.  That means if you want to savor your coffee or tea, you will be up no later than 6:30 am each day!

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Every evening we were briefed on the plan for the next day and the white board would be checked quite often during the day as nobody wanted to be the person holding up the group.  Next, Genovesa Island which I think was the most amazing for bird life.

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The end of a beautiful day

**Pictures from Ryan and Annie’s blog with permission. They were on this tour and are great travel companions!

Also, my apologies for the big gap since the Peru posting and this post.  But we were having fun on a trip to Hawaii and then busy taking care of some wonderful family business as we get ready for our first grandchild to be born.

Peru and the Galapagos – 9

Guayaquil

We had an early morning flight from Cuzco, Peru to Guayaquil, Ecuador by way of Lima.  This flight was just about a week after the big earthquake in Ecuador centered near the coast about 300 miles from Guayaquil.  Needless to say, we wondered what damage we would see.  Luckily, Guayaquil suffered small physical damage compared to other cities but it did suffer lives lost which is always sobering.   We had to bypass the overpass which collapsed and noticed damage in our hotel such as marble panels that had fell and were being replaced. But our guide assured us that Ecuador needed and wanted visitors as tourism is a huge part of their economy.  Our first night, we had a 6.5 aftershock which was quite a ride.  No one seemed concerned and we didn’t have any more shaking.

Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador and a major finance center.  For us, it was massive and we did just a short taxi tour to hit the tourist highlights. Two major rivers meet here, Rio Daule and Rio Babahoyo which form the Rio Guayas.  It is so large it appears as though you are at the coast and not a river.  See map below.

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Map of Guayaquil center and map of general area

Our hotel helped us to hire a taxi to see the sights.  First stop was to see the Cathedral in the main square. Then on to Seminary Park to see all of the iguanas that hang out there looking for handouts.  We drove along the Malecon de Simon Bolivar area which is a large, gated park along the river.  The taxi driver worked his way through the traffic to allow us to visit the Cerro Santa Ana area which is the nicest residential area in the city. Then up to Cemetery Hill for a view of the city and river.

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Cathedral

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Statue of Simon Bolivar

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Seminary Park with hundreds of iquanas

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Iguana in a tree

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Gated residential area, Santa Ana Hill

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Beautiful old residences

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View of Guayaquil and river from Cemetery Hill

We stayed at a beautiful hotel, the most highly rated of our trip.  It was nice and the service was excellent.  Below is contact information about our hotel.

Guayaquil, Ecuador Hotel
Hotel Oro Verde Guayaquil
Avenida 9 de Octubre y Garcia Moreno, Guayaquil, Ecuador
011 593 4-232-7999

Even though we didn’t need as much time here, we did use the day to relax and rest for the main event – The Galapagos Islands!

Next:  The Galapagos Islands