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Archive for October, 2010

El Mitad del Mundo 0°00′07″S 78°27′21″W

Posted by Susanna On October - 29 - 2010

Back in Quito I decided I didnt wanted to miss out to do THE photo staying on the equator after I had done the photo on the 180° meridian in Fiji where I stood bewteen today and yesterday. So I took a few buses which cost only in between 15 and 25cents to the middle of the world – El Mital del Mundo 0°00′07″S 78°27′21″W. It is simply one of those sites you just do for have them done and while you already there. Besides I personally found nothing special about it. First of all you pay not just entry for the park – you pay for everything else as well. The park is not that extraordinary. On the point where the equator passes through the country they build between 1979 and 1982 the 30-meter-tall monument. At least that is where they thought it was back then. Meanwhile we have GPS and people found out that the equator is placed about 240 meters north of the marked line. Around that monument are lots of handicrafts stores but they just sell the average stuff. You can try to balance an egg on a nail because people think here it is easier but in reality it’s just some tourist entertainment nothing more.

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Close by is the crater of the volcano Pululahua in which people live and have there farms. It is a very simple life. I got a private tour of a tour company since nobody of the people at the Mitad del Mundo was willing to go and I actually enjoyed having my own guide and driving in a private car instead of a bus. I heard that the school teacher for example walks everyday down the long dirt road for about an 1h and after school up back to Quito. She said she doesn’t want to give up her city life for moving into the crater. The crater is one of two inhabited craters in the world and it is still active.

Pululahua

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Tortuga Bay

Posted by Susanna On October - 24 - 2010

My last day in Galapagos. These three weeks went by like nothing. I still can’t believe that I actually am on Galapagos. My childhood dream fulfilled. I’ve seen and enjoyed the enchanted islands. I dearly hope it will be possible to protect them and save this unique special spot of the world. I hope it will be possible to educate people to respect all living creatures and see them like our brothers. I hope that the guides of Galapagos will be more careful selected so that these arrogant kind of guides stay out. They just spoil the trips of the travelers.

On my last day I went with my Argentinian friends to Tortuga bay. I guess I didn’t mentioned before but if you wonder why there were so many Argentinians on Galapagos – LAN Airlines had a super cheap promotion. Only $300 there and back from Argentina inclusive tax!!! Back to Tortuga bay. Its definitely worth a visit even though you have to walk for about 40min from Puerto Ayora until you reach the beach. It is beautiful but I didn’t go into the water because it was still chilly.

In the evening I went to say Good-Bye to Santiago the tortoise and then I bought the most beautiful art to remind me on my trip of a lifetime to Galapagos. It’s unique and handmade out of potato starch and whatever else.

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Just the moon…

Posted by Susanna On October - 23 - 2010

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Muro de las Lagrimas or Wall of Tears

Posted by Susanna On October - 21 - 2010

This morning I was invited of a friend for a snorkel trip to Tintoreras. Before you actually snorkel over there you are walking a small island and there is one part where you can watch sleeping white tip sharks from above. Normally most sharks need to be in constant move to breathe but at this spot they are protected and the current is still strong enough so they can rest without moving. Of course every now and then they swim but in between they sleep. I have never seen something like that before. Then I went snorkeling and I don’t have to say it again but – it is freezing in Galapagos waters. I saw schools of surgeon fish, turtles and finally I swam and played with a curious sea lion for about 20min and took some great videos of it what I will post as soon as I have the possibility to edit…

Tintoreras

On Isabella there is that part of an unfinished building called Muro de las Lagrimas or Wall of Tears. According to the  history, the wall was built by prisoners for prisoners. They were supposed to build their own jail. They say hundreds of prisoners built on that wall only watched by a few police men. The prison was never finished and the portion that was built took four years to build. Now it stays there in the wild landscape of Isabela as a silent reminder of the other site of Galapagos history that reminds you that there is more than the beautiful wildlife. The Wall of Tears is an impressive wall made out of hundreds of lava stones.

Muro de las Lagrimas / Wall of tears

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Sierra Negra

Posted by Susanna On October - 20 - 2010

Another horse ride again – this time up to the volcano Chino and the Sierra Negra. It is my first real volcano crater I looked into. And it was big – filled with cold lava fields wherever I looked. The horse ride was worth it but it was so dusty that I looked kind of red after the trip and needed a shower desperately. The horses where very used and at times hard to direct. At top we walked a few more minutes into the Sierra Negra. All dry and few cactus. The landscapes so differs from each other here in the Galapagos. But it is beautiful to be here. In the evening I was invited to a lobster BBQ by my Argentinian friends. Was a very funny evening since they know how to party….

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Finally Flamingos

Posted by Susanna On October - 19 - 2010

I was so tired today that I slept in. Around 11:00am I decided to make a visit at the near by Tortoise breeding station because I didn’t wanted to make a big excursion somewhere for today. The way to the station was quite lovely with all these paths through the wilderness alongside some sort of lakes where I could observe a few flamingos. I haven’t seen them on my boats cruise so therefore I was more than happy to take a few shots… How pretty they are with there pink feathers which get the color through their food…
At the breeding station I was the only visitor and I just loved to watch these little tortoise babies walking somewhat clumsy over each other.

Flamingos

Tortoise breeding station at Isla Isabela

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Casa Rosada at Isla Isabela

Posted by Susanna On October - 18 - 2010

Around 2:00pm I left Santa Cruz with a the small ferry “Gaby” to Isla Isabela. I had herd so many beautiful things about this place so I needed to see it. And I needed a break and time to relax. Through the internet I had met Claudia while researching information about Galapagos. She is the previous owner of Casa Rosada, the pink house directly on the beach with own marine iguana colony. I previously had ask the new owner Felipe how far the Casa might be from the marina. Since he had told me its close I didn’t take a taxi what was a mistake because the place is the last house on the beach. Eventually I made it. And immediately I met Tyson the maybe biggest iguana I’ve seen… He looked massive especially when lying in between all these small iguanas. The Casa is nice and  my room had even ocean view.

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Beso tortuga

Posted by Susanna On October - 17 - 2010

Galapagos is famous for “Lonesome George” the only tortoise left of its kind. You can buy souvenirs everywhere and there is even a clothing line with the same name. But nobody heard about Santiago the tortoise. This day I felt a bit alone so I decided it might be nice to go back to the Charles Darwin Research Station to observe the animals with enough time and also checking out the land iguana I missed last time because I was so impressed by the tortoises. So anyway I went to the place with the male tortoises. It is possible to go in with them and I was sitting next to them to watch. Out of a sudden this one tortoise (later I found out its name is Santiago) came up to me and came very close to my face kissing me… I was surprised. But it was such a magical atmosphere and the tortoise started to rub on my jeans so I touched it carefully. It liked it so much that it stood up on all legs and the neck got longer and longer. I continued rubbing the tortoise and it enjoyed it so much that it even closed its eyes… After 10min another tortoises seemed to become jealous and wanted some rubs as well. It was amazing. I felt so close to these gentle giants and it was a very special moment I just had only for myself!

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Horse riding at Rancho Mariposa

Posted by Susanna On October - 16 - 2010

I love giant tortoises and I love horse riding – so there was no question about it, I had to go back to the Rancho Mariposa of Steven Divine. I loved that ranch so much at the last visit with the group but I felt rushed. This time I took time and what is nicer than exploring the highlands on the back of a horse. I chose a white horse called Muchacha. Steven’s horses are easy to ride and not spoiled as so many other rental horses everywhere. I was so much fun because almost everywhere we went we saw giant tortoises in their natural habitat. They immigrate through the ranch so at this time of the year lots and lots were on that area. This day I will never forget – it was definitely one of my personal highlights of being in the Galapagos.

Rancho Mariposa

Santa Cruz

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Mola Mola and the worst dive

Posted by Susanna On October - 15 - 2010

I made a mistake today and went diving with Albatros Tours a dive company in Puerto Ayora. Two days ago I had checked my wet suit over there and for one hour they really could not find me the right seize and I got so exhausted (trying on thick wetsuits is exhausting) that I almost gave up at that point already. I should have! When I ask after my fins and hood they said it will be on the boat and I should not worry. Then today on the boat what was not even a dive boat more like a nutshell we went to famous Gordon Rocks. People of all dive level were mixed up. Some had only 8 dives or haven’t dove in a long time. The fins were not the right seize, some people they had give fins of two different kind! The hoods were not fitting so needed to dive without! And when I thought to refuse to dive they refused to give me back my money…. I showed them off the security leaks but they didn’t care… Out of a sudden my BCD was broken as well – crazy but I had noticed it! Well the conditions were extreme with big waves… People run out of air after 20min. But how could they take beginners of such a dive?!? In the end it was not that extraordinary but then I saw Mola Mola the sun or moon fish. It was very big about 2 meters and it just looks amazing. What an experience. If it wasn’t for that fish I would have said it was the dive which sucked most ever….

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