We ended up being happy with our splurge on a expedition cruise of the islands, as well as with our choice of boat. The Beagle is a beautiful 105 foot sailing schooner built in England in the 1970’s with teak decks and wood accents everywhere. We were told by our naturalist guide that it is currently for sale for 3 million dollars. We had two cabins, 1 a bit larger than the other but both very well appointed and comfortable. The shower was even good, which is something we are already appreciating. Much like when I hit the airport hallway, when we climbed on board I felt instantly happy. Just sitting on deck felt decadent – to me at least. The rest of the family took some wooing, especially since the kids were still fighting a combination of sea sickness and the side effects of the sea sickness remedies we tried. (I used the patch and never felt sick to my stomach).
We were kept pretty busy the whole week, and it was without a doubt the world’s best science lesson. Most days there were three activities. In the morning we would dingy over to the island we had navigated to while we slept, and hike among the amazing resident birds and mammals. The most remarkable thing about the Galapagos is that the animals have absolutely no fear of humans. This means that many of the photos you see I took without using any zoom. Then there is the fact that most of the species of birds and animals don’t exist anywhere else in the world. After our hike we would return to the boat for lunch. After lunch we would snorkel, often in deep water around a free-standing rock formation. There was lots and lots to see each and every time - turtles, sharks, eels, sting rays. The best however was undoubtedly the sea lions. They loved to play with us. They would even grab our fins and tug on them – they reminded us of aqua golden receivers! In the afternoon we would motor (or sail when lucky) to another spot to do a wet beach landing and tour another part of the island. Back at the boat we would have cocktail hour, dinner and then fall exhausted into our bunks. We were usually awoken however sometime past midnight when the big swells rolled us around in our bunks. A couple of nights Mark and Wilder played poker with some of our fellow passengers. It won’t surprise anyone that knows Wilder that he cleaned house!
Though being on a boat for a whole week felt a little difficult sometimes, overall it was a great experience and an excellent start to our RTW. Next stop Quito.