Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Day 6 (28 June 2017) – Rabida Island, Bartolome Island, Galapagos Islands - Adventures by Disney Ecuador and Galapagos Islands Tour (23 Jun – 2 July 2017)

Rhys’ 18th birthday

Up again like clockwork at 5:45 am just before the sun came up. Wake up call was at 7 am instead of 6:45 am with breakfast at 7:15 am. I fixed myself a cup of coffee and headed up to the top deck again. We were already anchored at Rabida Island with it’s beautiful red colored sand and landscape from all the iron in the sand. I caught up on my blog and uploaded pictures and such to Facebook.

A word about wifi on the ship. Disney had arranged for wifi access for all of us except that we were only given 1 password per cabin for one device. Rhys was happy since he was the only one in his cabin but I, of course, got to hog up the wifi password on my phone. The speed was pretty darned good for a cruise ship – uploading took a while but not that much longer than it would have at home. And the signal seemed to be pretty consistent. There are only certain areas of the ship you can connect – the public areas but not down in the dining room.

We stopped and knocked on Rhys’ door – he was in the shower and took a minute to get to the door but we wished him a happy birthday and then headed to breakfast at just past 7:15 am. Each day there was a slight variation on the eggs – poached, hard boiled, and mini omelets today; and the sausage. There was even an Ecuadorian version of tamales but the masa was softer and more sweet stuffed with chicken and peppers.

When Rhys arrived for breakfast, there was a card waiting from him from ABD as well as a special birthday pin. Everyone sang happy birthday to him – it was pretty awesome.

Following breakfast, we had a little bit of time to get things ready for our wet landing hike and then deep sea snorkeling so we gathered our wet suits, snorkel gear in our cabin numbered mesh bags, packed backpacks with sunscreen, towel, etc. We were also instructed by Robby to bring some sturdy shoes with grip – he didn’t recommend sandals or flip flops. We waited in the library as each group was called by their animal names again. Frigates were always the last group to be called. We got on our panga which took us to the red sand colored beach for a quick wet landing – the waves were higher today so it was a little trickier to get the pangas on the beach to off load.

We pretty much had things down now. I brought an extra washcloth with me so after our wet landing I could wipe the sand and water off my feet to put on socks and shoes for our hike. It was very warm this morning but thank goodness for the sea breeze. We gathered together as a group, left our stuff on the ground, and then headed off down the red sand beach and then around to a small brackish water pond where the only duck on the island resided. Apparently the duck is from the Bahamas and it had decided to make this island it’s home. No flamingos today. We found a beautiful beached sea star that Indi threw back in the ocean.

We stopped to discuss some of the trees, the many lizards running around near the pond and the cactus that grew on the island. We climbed up and got some really beautiful views. A random turtle was spotted in the water and there were frigates and pelicans constantly flying overhead.

We got back to the beach, got our snorkel gear on and gathered our things. I’ve also figured out the best layers that seemed to keep me pretty warm in the 70-ish degree water: my one piece swimsuit (I was very glad that I had brought 2 swim suits with me), long sleeved rash guard shirt and then my wet suit over it. I tied my hair back at the bottom of my head and used a buff to keep the hair out of my eyes. We got on another panga (the only time you don’t have life jackets on are when you have wet suits on) and were taken around the corner of the island. The waves were definitely higher today and the sun was out so it made the water seem a bit murkier. We were dropped off into the water and we snorkeled for about an hour. There didn’t seem to be as many fish this time. We saw a ton of starfish. When we were getting ready to get back on the panga, a sea lion zipped right by us which was pretty cool to see.

We were pros at this point getting back to the ship: rinsing our wet suits off, hanging them up according to our cabin numbers, rinsing our mesh bags and snorkel equipment off, rinsing our feet and shoes off, grabbing the snack they offered as we headed upstairs, checked ourselves in on the magnet board, tied our mesh bag up on the railing and then heading inside to rinse off, rinse our swim suits off and then putting our clothes in the dryer.

Lunch was at noon down in the dining room – buffet style with a Mexican theme this time. The guacamole and pico de gallo all had cilantro in it, unfortunately (I hate the taste of cilantro). So I made a taco salad with the cheese and chorizo (which tasted more like bacon bits) and chicken. They also had fried fish which was really good. As it was each day, we ordered ahead for dinner.

After lunch, many people took naps and I took the chance to get caught up on my blog again. I had gone up to the top deck at first but only lasted a short while as the sun is very very strong and I didn’t have any sunscreen with me. I moved down to the panorama deck and sat in the shade. The ship was moving particularly fast today and was rocking quite a bit as we headed to Bartolome Island. The frigates were circling our ship. We started seeing quite a few more other, smaller ships at this point.

At 2:30, we took a panga out to the beach and were dropped off for a wet landing so we could snorkel. We spent about an hour snorkeling and saw a few fish we hadn’t seen before including a very well camouflaged flounder. Rhys went off on his own and got to swim with some penguins – he remarked how they weren’t actually swimming very fast. We went back to the ship and did a quick rinse and change into dry clothes.

When you google “Galapagos Islands” and look for images, a popular one is a view overlooking a large pointed rock known as the pinnacle rock. This view was the destination of our hike up the 300+ steps on Bartolome Island. We took a panga out for a dry landing this time and started our hike up stopping along the way for Indi to point out interesting facts about the island. It was very desolate and reminded us of the surface of the moon. We didn’t see a lot of wildlife on the way up. There were a handful of green plants on this island and some lava cactus. About half way up, it started to rain. We reached the summit and took a group photo as well as family photos and received our next pin. The view was pretty except for the blowing rain.

It's raining!

Our awesome Guides, Lauren and Robby
We came back down the same way we came up taking care not to slip on the black sand on the wooden steps. We went straight down and boarded a panga which took us around to a couple of spots so we could see the penguins.

We returned to the ship and were invited to have some BBQ snacks out on the panorama deck. They had a table set up for either vodka and tonic or gin and tonic with a variety of sliced fruit and herbs to add in. The grill had some vegetables on a skewer as well as sausage on a skewers with various sauces. We chatted with our fellow Adventurers Angelo and Jennifer who were interested in the Danube river cruise.

We moved inside near the Panorama Bar for our nightly 7:15 pm briefing. The schedule for the next day was a little more complicated. Wake up would be the earliest at 6:15 am for breakfast at 6:30 and excursion leaving at 7:30 am. There were several options he went over from the caldera of Darwin’s Bay. We headed down to dinner afterwards: cous cous appetizer, cream of mushroom soup, and crab stuffed fish – all were very good. Then the lights were turned down and there were actually two birthdays being celebrated last night. They played happy birthday again for Rhys and brought out a pretty decent sized cake. He blew out the candles and we all had cake for dessert. We talked with Gordon and Cindy until well past 9 pm. The kids had been invited to a JA private pizza party followed by the movie Pirates of the Caribbean so the adults had some alone time. We all headed off to bed before the kids were done watching the movie.

No comments: