ARAGORN ... Not all those who wander are lost (JRR Tolkien)

The Galapagos Islands

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The Galapagos comprise 13 major islands, 6 smaller ones, and 42 islets and are located on the Equator, approximately 600 miles west of mainland Ecuador. The islands are home to spectacular flora and fauna—including the Giant Tortoise, Blue-footed Booby, sea lions and marine iguanas, to name a few. Of course, this is the place that inspired Charles Darwin to write "Origin of the Species." It is a magical place, where you can approach animals closely, as many of them have not developed a fear of man. After we arrived in Puerto Ayora, we boarded the Xpedition for a five-day cruise exploring some of the various islands with a team of naturalists. We were fortunate that our son Tom could join us for a few days on ARAGORN as well as on the cruise. Of course we ended our stay with a couple of intensive days provisioning and doing boat maintenance.



Dick and Christy prepare Aragorn for the crossing to the Galapagos. Luckily we did not need to use any extra diesel!
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CROSS THE EQUATOR! Photo snapped 6 yards south of the equator.
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King Neptune arrived aboard Aragorn to examine the crew and annoint them "Shellbacks."
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This majestic seal is almost the icon for the Galapagos. What a wonderful sight to behold.
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When we came ashore, these marine iguanas were everywhere. We had to watch where we stepped as they were well hidden in the terraine.
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Tom joined us for a cruise through the Galapagos Islands. Here we are in the "panga" (Spanish for dingy) going ashore for another expedition to see the wonderful sea and land life.
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No matter how may we saw, we never tired of watching them swim, play, or lounge in the sand. We all feel in love with the sea lions.
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While Dick and Tom were scuba diving I had the wonderful experience of snorkeling with the sea lions. Here one comes close to examine me!
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We were spoiled royally aboard the Xpedition during our four day cruise.
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This was the view from the top of Bartolome Island, just one expedition from the ship Xpedition.
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Check out this marine iguana. They are positively prehistoric looking and a funny sight to see when they swim.
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These are the famous Blue Footed Boobies. Their feet are really blue!
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What an amazing sight to see, the giant tortoise. I thnk this one is looking for Betsy Heerde!
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This guy was perched on a rock looking very official.
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The flightless cormorant drying his wings after a swim. We were able to watch two swim a mating swim = beautiful!
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These little birds are a most patient species. We had one land on the anchor rode and sit for ages. Every once in a while he would dip down in the water and come up with a fish in his beak!
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Dick got this photo at the top of Bartholome Island. As we descended from our hike there was this guy sitting in the bush chopping on some leaves.
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We were educated in the difference between fur seals (this is one) and sea lions. Fur seals have a thicker neck, thick fur and look more like a bear. Sea lions have a distinct neck, thinner, sleek fur, and look more dog like.
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Most of the islands are volcanic. This kind of lava flow is called rope lava due to its resemblence to coils of rope.
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The adult crabs are a vibrant red with a blue and yellow head. Really very beautiful!
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We were amazed at how unafraid the sea lions were of people. One day we went ashore and the beach was littered with sea lions. This one was napping after a romp in the surf.
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This fellow came out of the water and proceeded to saunter up the beach. He stopped and it seemed to us that he purposely posed for us, turning head from side to side. Here he is talking to Tom before heading into the scrub bushes.
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I think everyone loves penguins. These are the Galapagos penguin which are very small, but very cute!
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Prickly Pear cactus grow to be the size of trees. The trunk is easily 18 inches in diameter.
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All in good fun, Tom decided to try and give me a "wet willy" during our last dinner aboard the Xpedition, but I was too fast for him!
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Carmen and Enrique from Spain own the s/v Perletico - a Moody 47. They too jumped from their boat to the Xpedition for four glorious days of island touring..
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Jim and Lolly are the couple responsible for our joining the rally (along with David and Clair Lewis). They are sailing on the J160 CONDOR, from Bermuda with David and Claire.
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Murry and Amanda also jumped from their boat Ocean Song to spend four days luxuriating aboard Xpedition. I think Amanda and I tied for the most showers taken in four days!
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The famous blue footed boobies and marine iguanas sitting in the sun.
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Do you know who this couple is having dinner aboard the cruise ship Xpedition?
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This little guy had a major itch. We enjoyed watching him use his flipper to scratch his itch.
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Tom never tired of watching the sea lions. Here he is on the beach with a pup.
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The volcanic terrain of the Galapagos Islands. This is Bartholeme.
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Have you fallen in love yet?
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Here Tom and I are following behind our new friend-the giant tortoise.
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What a mouth! This tortoise had just finshed eating a passion friut.

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