The start of our Galapagos trip was rough. The short version is that due to a lengthy visit to the Galapagos office in the Quito airport (to receive our Transit Control Cards) followed by a surprise visit to the airline ticket booth (to pay foreigner fees), we missed our flight! After much cajoling of the airline (ask me for details sometime – it’s an entertaining story) they agreed to put us on standby for the next flight which was headed for a different island, but the Galapagos nonetheless. We didn’t find out until the last minute that they only had room for 7 of us and the rest would have to fly out the next morning. After a brief family huddle, we decided that Karen, the kids and I would fly out and that Maggi and Jason’s family would fly out the next day. So I boarded the plane with the kids and Karen destined for the Santa Cruz Island!
We landed in Santa Cruz a few hours later and from there we needed to travel south to the town of Puerto Ayora. To get there from the airport we had to take a bus ($30), a ferry ($6) and then we divided up into two taxis ($50). Once there, our first item of business was to secure tickets for a boat to take us to the correct island (San Cristolbal). The boats had already left for the day, so we bought tickets for the 7am departure the following morning. At the port there was a small playground, so Karen and I left the kids there under the supervision of Jared and Grant in search of housing (keep in mind our prearranged lodging was on a different island!) We only walked about 50 yards when Karen spotted a hostal. We went in and they had two rooms left at $45 each. We payed on the spot and walked back to the playground remembering how a few hours earlier, before we ate airport sandwiches, we had prayed to give thanks and asked for guidance. We definitely felt directed!
Now that housing was secured it was time to explore and find some food! It wasn’t long before we started to notice the animals that were all around us. There were sharks, crabs, sea lions, iguanas, herons, pelicans. The most interesting were the sea lions because they walked around unfazed by people. They would lay on park benches and if there were people in the bench they wanted, they would bark and force the people to move.
We found a street not far from the docks that was blocked off and had dining tables lined up down the middle of the road. As we walked down the street, restaurant workers showed us their fresh fish, crabs, shellfish and other seafoods. We passed a stall that had beautiful looking shish kebobs (brochetas in Spanish). They had tuna, calamari, shrimp and yummy vegetables. We ordered 10 of them and found a spot amidst the crowded tables. The kebobs were AMAZING! They were covered in a butter and garlic sauce and somehow they made me forget all the stress of the prior 12 hours of the day! We told the restaurant owner that we’d be back with more family when we returned to the Santa Cruz island and then headed to the hostel for an early bedtime.
The following morning we were on the docks at 6AM for our shuttle to San Cristobal. The 2 hour boat ride was terrible because I got sick which caused most of the kids to get sick. Looking back it must’ve been a funny scene to see little Kate trying to console her vomiting father while all of her big brothers were vomiting around her, but at the time I wanted to die! For all future boat rides we took Dramamine and no one got sick again!
Once on San Cristobal, we found our lodging, rested a bit and then went to the beach. There were sea lions everywhere and we had to compete with them for space. At one point the boys dug a big hole in the sand and made a pool. Before they could enjoy it a big sea lion came up and shooed everyone away and laid in the pool himself!
After a few hours Maggi and Jason’s family showed up at the beach and our family was back together again! Wow what a crazy 24 hours that was!