5/14 Isla Floreana and Galapagos Tortoises

San Cristobal to Floriana

In the morning we embarked on a long boat ride from San Cristobal to Floriana.  It was very, very bumpy. And very very sunny.  We all wanted to be in the front of the boat where it was shady, but we also wanted to be in the back where it was less bumpy.  How to choose?  Sunburn?  Or sea sickness?

Liz chooses the Back of the Boat

Devils Crown

We stopped briefly for some quality photo time at Devil’s Crown; a beautiful outcropping of volcanic rock above (and below) the surface.

Blue Footed Booby
Devil’s Crown
Devil’s Crown
Devil’s Crown – side view


Liz, master snorkeler

Snorkeling with playful sea lions. Saw a turtle. Susie the sea lion, with both flippers tagged.  She loved to  play, and would hang, suspended mid-water, waiting for me when I went to catch a breath. At the end of the snorkel trip I was the last one out of the water, having to leave my four new slippery friends. As I climbed the ladder a sea turtle swam beneath the boat.

Pic by Liz: “Heidi and her Bestie”
Frigate Males – with the red gular sac


Welcome to Isla Floreana
Our Hotel on the Isla Floreana
Isla Floreana Sign
Fany and her puppy friends

Lava beaches. Marine iguanas. 150 ppl total on the island.  Spartan rooms sun my Florianita Qhitmer – daughter of Margaret Whitmer years ago.


Hike up to the highlands. Water for settlers. Pirate accommodations. Maybe treasure?  Warblers, finches, etc.

Bus Truck to the hike
Pretty Flower
Stone Head
“Secret” Pirate Passage
Climbing up the “secret” passageway
Liz at the Hilltop View

After 45 minutes of hiking we climbed over a rock wall and gasped: giant Galapagos tortoises!  At least six of them in a large pen.  They were amazing.  I could have stayed there for hours.

Giant Galapagos Tortoise
Liz and a Tortoise

We spent sunset with the marine iguanas that climbed out of the ocean so dry on the rocks in the sun. I wasn’t thrilled with my camera and the lack of crispness.  I’m sure this is user error, but I wish I could figure out why even auto setting yielded less than momentous results.

Marine Iguana – they use a saline spray to clean their glands
Marine Iguana, resting in the sunset
Heidi with Marine Iguanas
Heidi and Liz at Sunset
The Gigglers: Lina and Amanda
Sunset and Boats


Group dinner was at a restaurant up the street. (read: dirt road). We spent time going around the table and answering one question: “What do you most want to see in the Galapagos?” Liz: penguins. Me: a whale shark. Amanda: a whale.  That she can ride.

Dinner Group
Soup with popcorn: now why didn’t I think of that?
No idea.

Back in our hot and stale room, we showered and packed our stuff for the next morning. And avoided spiders, wherever possible.

Dead spider on our sink