Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jul 1st - Floreana - Galapagos Boat Cruise - Day 3 - Canada Day!

It can be tricky deciding when to go to the Galapagos.  Though it is all said in various books and websites, there are still decisions you need to make.  Why do I want to go? What would make me happy?  I can tell you that, given I live in Vancouver where it rains for nearly 9 months of the year,  what I wanted out of a vacation was for it not to be raining.  So therefore, the dry season was a must.  Galapagos does not get terribly hot or cold given it's location on the Equator but it does get very wet.  Now, there are other things associated with this as well.  This will impact the presence of wildlife, like the lonely Flamingo above.  In other times of the year, this lake would be a sea of pink.  I went down to the lake's edge even though the group could not see any flamingos from the view point and I found this one beautiful Flamingo on its own.  The other wildlife that might vary on seasonality besides birds would be Sharks, Whales and the like, depending on migratory patterns.  The only 'big thing' we did not see were Whales.  Something to think about. 

One thing that is not that intuitive that my guide pointed out, is that, while everything is more lush and green in the wet season, that very lushness makes spotting wildlife more difficult.  During the dry season, many plants go dormant and the islands are bare and rocky.  You will want to weigh some of these things together as well as the weather impact on the ocean currents and waves.

Lunch was Tuna Salad which Tutu formed into a Sea Turtle.  I mean really!? How cute is that?  He has to make 3 meals a day for loud, vacationing tourists and he goes out of his way to do this.  Adorable.  The Red 'fruit' in the bottom left between the Lime wedges are called Tomates de Arbol or Tree Tomatoes.  There were sides of Salad, Stuffed Tomatoes and a Rice Pilaf with Walnuts and fried Noodles.  Yummy.

Dessert, which we usually got once a day, which meant we either had one for Lunch or Dinner only, which was fine.  Tutu had the meal plan planned so we would never feel hungry and I never did!  Dessert at lunch was Preserved Figs with Cheese.  Very sweet.

We did alot of snorkelling this day and the water was rather cold as it normally is in July.  So coming back to the boat to find freshly made Yucca fries was fantastic.  I love Yucca.  It is a root vegetable which is somewhat similar to a potato but much more flavourful.  It has a skin that looks like tree bark and preparation can be quite involved the first of which is getting the bark off.  I made Yucca fries with a friend once and between the peeling, boiling and frying, I deferred all future Yucca activity to the professionals.  YUMMO!  I definitely took more than my fair share of these (sorry fellow travellers).  I've been accused of having a hollow leg.  It's an important thing to have when you are storing extra Yucca fries. 

Oh that reminds me, the boats will supply you with Fins and Masks but not wetsuits.  There is a nominal daily charge which is totally up to you.  $5/day USD.  D and I had our own from home.  At snorkelling depth, you only need a 3mm Shorty.  You'll need 7mm full with hood at diving depth.  I was still shivering  but that's next week.

Tutu made something special for us. Rather surprised us all.  We had Lobster! Galapagos Lobster, granted, which is less expensive and has a meatier texture and flavour than the Atlantic variety but still Lobster on a adventure cruise.  Amazing.  

He also did the fresh potato mash and vegetables in a roll.  There were a few salads and vegetable sides as well.  What a marvel!

D and I did a quiet Yay Canada! I had planned on buying temporary tatoos but they were none in the shops I went to last minute.  The American's were equally non-chalant 3 days later.  Yay Canada!

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