This year, our family decided to make a 12 day trip to the Galápagos Islands and Quito, Ecuador for our summer vacation. I have gotten so many “Wow!” reactions from friends who ask what we’re doing this summer that I thought It would be worthwhile to keep and publish a journal. Over the next 12 days, I’ll be publishing it in daily installments, offset from real time by two weeks. By spreading the publication out in this way, I should have time to go through the pictures and use a few of them in the articles.
Table of Contents
- Day 1: San Francisco to Guayaquil
- Day 2: Guayaquil to Baltra and North Seymour
- Day 3: Española Island
- Day 4: Floreana Island
- Day 5: Isabela and Fernandina Islands
- Day 6: Santa Cruz Island / Puerto Ayora
- Day 7: Cerro Dragon and Sombrero Chino
- Day 8: Bartolomé and Santiago Islands
- Day 9: Baltra to Quito
- Day 10: Otavalo and vicinity
- Day 11: Quito
- Day 12: Quito to San Francisco
For those of you that don’t know us personally, our family consists of Jim (your narrator), a networking engineer; my wife Kenna, a community volunteer; and Celeste, our 11 year-old daughter who is entering sixth grade later this month. We travel well together; past vacations have included the usual assortment of fly/drive vacations, a couple of car-camping trips in the Western US, and a couple of trips to Europe. Many of our trips have been somewhat unscripted: We often have a rough idea of where we want to go but fill in the details as we travel. This has led to a few close calls with full hotels and flights, but we have found that this serendipity has almost always led to the best memories of the trip.
In that respect, this trip is quite different from the usual. Everything is planned, reserved, and booked in advance. It is the first cruise any of us has taken (apart from a 24-hour cruise that I took in Sweden once, and 3 days on a submarine long ago) and the first time that we have had it all arranged by a tour operator. We are hoping this won’t seem too constraining, but the advance planning allowed us to look forward to the trip more clearly. We have had a binder in the kitchen into which we have collected articles and other information on Galápagos and Ecuador, and it has been fun to leaf through it and consider what we would see and do.
The cruise we are taking will be on the National Geographic Endeavour, operated by Lindblad Expeditions. Some good friends of ours have taken Lindblad trips in the past, most recently to Antarctica, and spoke very highly of their experiences. The trip features a staff of naturalists as guides, which is a necessity in Galápagos in order to protect the fragile ecosystem. We have shied away from cruises in the past because so many of the ships are just so big, but the Endeavour has a capacity of just 96 guests and therefore seems to be a much more manageable size. I understood from Lindblad that there are often a number of families with kids in Celeste’s age range, and that was also a positive factor in deciding on the cruise.