Location: Maryland -> San Salvador, El Salvador -> Guayaquil, Ecuador
In 1831 Charles Darwin set sail on the HMS Beagle to explore the Galapagos Islands. No one would know at the time just how big an impact this journey would have on our understanding of nature, and the world at large. During his five year trip, later named “Darwin’s Voyage of Discovery” that he would take notes and drawings of various species and the varying geology of the differing islands of the archipelago. The archipelago is about 700 miles from South America on the equator, and mostly cut off from the rest of the world. Each of the islands have their own special micro environments and can even be effectively isolated from one another, which causes the species on those islands to adapt to the circumstances.
In 1859, Darwin would publish “On the Origins of Species” which laid the foundation of evolutionary biology.
In 1959, Ecuador established the islands are a living museum and national park set to preserve the islands to as much as possible while still allowing scientists and other visitors a chance to see the wildlife in their natural habitats.
In July 2015, we booked a week long cruise to visit the islands in 27 months time. While this trip is a bucket list item for many people, we wanted to do this while we were still young and it so that we could really enjoy the trip. The cruise is on the Celebrity Xpedition, a ship which holds less than 100 passengers, so we had to book early to get a room (and a better rate).
We choose to visit in September because it was the best month to see Galapagos penguins. We choose the “inner loop” option for the same reason. Ideally we would have preferred to do it earlier in the month, but we also new that we had the 2017 eclipse trip planned for around the same time. So we decided to do it later in the month to spread out the trips a little bit.
On this day in 2017, we started off on our own voyage of discovery to the Galapagos Islands. We have no disillusion that this vacation will revolutionize modern science! But we plan to snorkel with penguins, look at boobies, lay on the beach with seals and sea lions, hike up volcanoes, and try to spot the elusive Phillie Phanatic (pics of his visit home).
We woke up this morning, and after some brief packing, made our way to the airport. It would take Darwin a little over a year to sail from England to the Galapagos. It would take us about 27 hours on three flights to get there.
Our first flight took us from Dulles to San Salvador, El Salvador. Even though we had a 6.5 hour layover here, the remoteness of the airport relative to anything of interest left us little time to explore the local area. Instead we spent that time, relaxing in the lounge and working on this blog post.
The next flight took us from San Salvador to Guayaquil, Ecuador. We cleared customs easily enough and left the airport to overnight in a nearby hotel for a brief sleep.
Tomorrow we head back to the airport and fly to the Galapagos. In the afternoon we’ll go on our first tour of the island as we explore the bay near Puerto Ayora.
Total flights: 2
Total countries: 3 (US, El Salvador, Ecuador)
Total continents: 2 (North America, South America)
Total hemispheres: 2 (NW, SW)
Total timezones: 3
Total wildlife species seen: none worth mentioning
Total phanatic encounters: 0
Total Steps: 7454
Post script: The most prevalent questions we got from friends after our return last month was “When’s your next trip and when are you going?” Lots of surprise when we replied, the Galapagos in a couple weeks!
Post post script: Our fitbit charger is MIA, so we may not be able to count our steps too much longer.