Galapagos Islands

My wonderful wife Wendy works at Natural Habitat Adventures (they run incredible nature trips worldwide) and she had previously visited the Galapagos Islands in 1996. Fifteen years later, she returned with her family as Dirk, Kyle, and I were fortunate to join her week-long live-aboard ship to see the nifty wildlife and scenery.

My wife Wendy and sons Dirk-n-Kyle hang out with Guide Gustavo and Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands

galapagos islands isabela sea lions portrait

Self-portrait (remote in left hand) of Alek with Nazca Boobies on Genovesa, Galapagos Islands

galapagos islands Nazca Booby

Kyle and I with our 11 bags (includes two camera bags and a Nathab gear bag) - 222 pounds - YIKES!

galapagos islands travel bags

Thanks to the recent Continental-United merger, we were able to use miles for the flight from Denver to Quito, Ecuador

galapagos islands travel DIA

After a day of flying and a midnight landing in Quito, we headed out the next day to the Otavalo Market

otavalo market ecuador 1

Our Guide Gustavo points out some of the "interesting" (and tasty!) fruits to Dirk and Wendy

otavalo market ecuador 2

Dirk and Kyle found the teeter-totter more interesting than the Llama - Boys will be boys! ;-)

otavalo market ecuador 3

We hooked up with our group the next day and went to the Equator Monument
This was built years ago ... but then they found out it wasn't placed exactly at zero Latitude - D'OH! ;-)

equator ecuador 1

Dirk and Kyle at the actual Zero Latitude Line

equator ecuador 2

It's quite touristy with various pseudo-science demos - like how water drains clockwise on the South side and CCW on the North
Most people don't watch the initial (biased) pour - residual rotational energy of the water dwarfs the Coriolis effect
As an Engineer, it was amusing to watch ... and I did discreetly point out to my family the smoke-n-mirrors

equator ecuador 3

Kyle and Dirk imitate the Presidential Guards in Quito - click to see closeup of the Boys

ecuador quito guards

Quito had some pretty incredible churches - mouseover image to see closeup of the (real) gold

galapagos islands 1

Lady of Quito Statue overlooks the city

lady of quito statue

The following morning, we took a couple hour flight from Quito to the Galapagos Islands
The A320 was super clean with free entertainment and meal service - shades of an earlier era in air travel

galapagos islands aerogal airbus a320

Kyle and Dirk after deplaning at San Cristobal
Click here for close-up of Welcome to Galapagos Islands Sign

galapagos islands welcome sign

The Letty was our home for the next week - mouseover image to see wide-angle view of the San Cristobal harbor

galapagos islands letty ship at san cristobal

We started seeing wildlife right away - mouseover image to see the Sea Lion close their eyes

san cristobal galapagos islands sea lion

Later that afternoon, we went snorkeling ... so Ben (and the rest of us) got to see Sea Lions in the water too!

galapagos islands sea lions snorkel ben

Ron, Hannah, and Michael at sunset onboard the Letty

galapagos islands sunset

Eric (sister ship to the Letty) in front of Kicker Rock, Galapagos Island

kicker rock galapagos islands

The next day, we went to Genovesa Island - perhaps this is a descendant of one of Darwin's Finches ... or is it?!? ;-)

galapagos islands darwin finch

Short-Eared Owls are rarely seen - our only sighting was airborne for ~2 seconds - mouseover image to see it flying

galapagos islands short-eared owl genovesa

Red-Footed Boobies - mouseover image to see 'em squawking at each other

galapagos islands red footed boobies ground

Red-Footed Booby from 0.6 meters away with wide-angle lens - 1.6x17mm

galapagos islands red footed booby wide

Red-Footed Booby from 6 meters away with telephoto lens - 1.6x200mm

galapagos islands red footed booby telephoto

Head-on picture of the Red-Footed Booby - mouseover image to see closeup

galapagos islands red footed booby headon

Very pretty colors and details on the Red-Footed Booby

galapagos islands red footed booby head

This is why they are called the Red-Footed Booby! ;-)

galapagos islands red footed booby feet

Leaving the island of Genovesa - good example of typical dry landing in the Panga's

galapagos islands genovesa dry landing

galapagos islands genovesa dry landing closeup

The Panga's (aka Zodiac boats) took us to/from the ship & shore

galapagos islands panga

After walking on land, it was time to get off the Panga's in the afternoon ... into the water!

galapagos islands jump off panga

Kyle and Zach snorkeling for sealife

galapagos islands snorkel kyle zach

During the week, we saw lots of turtles, penguins, a few sharks, and many sea lions

galapagos islands sea lion three snorklers

Ed waves to a Sea Lion

galapagos islands ed waves sea lion

Yet another Sea Lion blowing bubbles as he swims toward me

galapagos islands sea lion blows bubbles

Esther and Ben keep an eye out for wildlife from the Sea Kayak

galapagos islands sea kayaking

Is that a Sea Lion or Kyle playing in the surf at Darwin Bay?!? ;-)

galapagos islands kyle sea lion

Sea Lions aren't as dark once they dry out on the sand

galapagos islands sea lions sleeping

This Sea Lion had some bad breath! ;-)

galapagos islands isabela sea lion closeup

A juvenile/immature yellow-crowned night Heron perched on the rock keeps an eye on the cameraman
GrrlScientist asks her readers to ID this bird it and after quite a bit of debate, she answers the question

galapagos islands heron 1

galapagos islands heron 2

Ricardo taking pictures of Male Great Frigatebirds

galapagos islands picture great male frigatebirds

Male Great Frigatebird - mouseover image to see closeup

galapagos islands great frigatebird

Nesting Frigatebird - mouseover image to see closeup of the chick

galapagos islands great frigatebird nest

Marine Iguana does a Godzilla imitation in front of the ships anchored off of Genovesa

galapagos islands genovesa marine iguana godzilla

Kyle and I at sunrise looking at Fernandina while anchored at Tagus Cove, Isabela, Galapagos Islands

galapagos islands Fernandina sunrise

A morning ride in the Panga's to check out the scenery and wildlife

galapagos islands Fernandina Panga

Getting back on the Letty

galapagos islands panga letty

We saw many Galapagos Sea Turtle's during our snorkels - here one is feeding - note how the shore drops off

galapagos islands Fernandina Tortoise 1

galapagos islands Fernandina Tortoise 2

Sea Turtle heading off into the deep

galapagos islands Fernandina Tortoise 3

Undersea vegetation was beautiful

galapagos islands Fernandina underwater

The Galapagos Penguins would dart around and turn on a dime - very cool!

galapagos islands Fernandina Penguin 1

galapagos islands Fernandina Penguin 3

Galapagos Penguin swimming past some Chocolate Chip Sea Stars

galapagos islands Fernandina Penguin 2

Above water picture of the Galapagos Penguin

galapagos islands penguin thinking

A Marine Iguana swims by a Galapagos Penguin on a rock outcropping - mouseover image to see closeup

galapagos islands fernandina penguin marine iguana

The various types of Iguanas on the Galapagos all looked very pre-historic

galapagos islands isabela marine iguana 1

These creatures look like they came out of the Dinosaur era

galapagos islands isabela marine iguana 2

A face only a mother could love! ;-)

galapagos islands isabela marine iguana 3

Or perhaps they are leftover extra's from a Godzilla film?!? ;-)

galapagos islands marine iguana santiago godzilla

Guide Gustavo talks to Wendy, Esther, Dirk, Kyle, and Ben about the whale skeleton on Isabela, Galapagos Islands

galapagos islands Isabela whale skeleton

Gustavo provides a helping hand to Kyle as he jumps over a crack in the Lava

galapagos islands gustavo kyle lava jump

A lizard capture a cricket/locust - nature can be cruel

galapagos islands lizard kill

A tasty meal coming up - mouseover image to see gruesome closeup

galapagos islands lizard eats meal

The Sally Lightfoot crabs were pretty gnarly looking too!!!

galapagos islands isabela crap front

galapagos islands isabela crab back

A baby Sea Lion and Gustavo checking each other out - wanna play?!? ;-)

galapagos islands sea lion baby

Dirk-n-Kyle as Sea Lions! ;-)

galapagos islands sea lions

Pink Flamingo Lagoon on Santiago, Galapagos Islands - mouseover to see how close we are to the rocks!

galapagos islands santiago pink flamingo lagoon

On the far side of the Lagoon there were ... Pink Flamingo's!!! ;-)

galapagos islands santiago pink flamingos

Picturesque Pinnacle Rock at Bartolome, Galapagos Islands

galapagos islands Bartolome Pinnacle Rock

Wendy hanging out with a new found friend on the beach of Bartolome

galapagos islands bartolome beach

Alek the intrepid photographer - closeup picture and fixing a passenger's camera

galapagos islands alek photographer

The group at sunrise climbing up the summit of Bartolome, Galapagos Islands

galapagos islands climbing bartolome

Nathab group on top of Bartolome, Galapagos Island

Zach, Ed, Esther, Ricardo, Michael, Ron, Hannah, Dirk, Wendy, Melissa, Calvin, Kyle, Javier, Ben, Alek
Kneeling: Guides Pepe and Gustavo - Not Pictured: Bob and Betsy
galapagos islands bartolome summit

Back Home - Kyle and Dirk assist me with doing all the laundry from the trip! ;-)

galapagos islands laundry

I took just over 6,000 pictures as there were lots of photo ops. I hope you enjoy the saga! ;-)
Read what other people have said about the pictures/saga.
If you enjoy these pictures, total wildlife overload in Antarctica, South Georgia, and Falklands.
You may also enjoy pics from when my family went to Africa for a Safari trip plus the Polar Bears in Churchill, Canada

Send me an Email with your questions/comments and/or if you want prints.