S: Galapagos Islands
BC: Thank you, Dad and Helen, for this amazing adventure. Love, Christina
FC: Galapagos Islands 12-31-10 to 01-09-11
1: Ready to board... | Our Hotel in Quito | Ecuador | First Tour of the DAy
2: Transvestites! | New Year's Eve in Quito
3: Celebrations in Quito
4: "El Mitad Del Mundo" | A visit to the Equator
5: Touring around Quito
6: On our tour around Quito, our first visit was to La Basilica, built in the 1880s. What makes this basilica interesting is its unusual gargoyles, modeled after the animals native to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
7: Then we went to the Plaza de Independencia, the central plaza of Quito, where we toured the city and learned about its history. | The Independence Monument: a dying lion to represent the Spanish, a condor breaking free of chains, and the Roman goddess of freedom.
8: More of Quito
9: The Hotel
10: And so begins our journey to the Galapagos Islands
11: Our first zodiac ride takes us to the Celebrity Xpedition
14: Sea Lions
20: On the second morning, we woke up bright and early for our trip out to Kicker Rock.
21: The sleep in our eyes was quickly replaced by amazement by the beauty of Kicker Rock. We watched as the sun burst from the horizon and poured golden light into the ocean. The sky lit up with hues of red, pink, and purple as we set out over the waves.
22: Galapagos National Park | Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
23: Shopping Time
25: On Espanola Island, we saw so many animals, including sea lions, Nazca Boobies, Christmas Iguanas, finches, hawks, albatrosses, crabs, and lizards. There was also a blowhole near Punta Suarez that shoots the ocean water up to twenty meters in the air. It was a beautiful sight to see.
28: Floreana Island | Floreana Island had a unique beauty to its landscape. It had fewer animals but a beautiful view. It was off the coast that we got our first glimpse of the Galapagos sea turtles.
33: Snorkeling on Floreana Island
35: On Wednesday morning, we set out to see Santa Cruz Island, home of the Sally Lightfoot Crab. They were the most beautiful shades of red, blue, and yellow. We were told this island was also home to flamingos, but we only saw one.
36: Later that day, we traveled to Bartolome Island, a volcanic island filled with craters and lava rock. It was here we saw our first and only penguin, and Team Volcano got a | picture together.
39: The next day, we ventured to Isabela Island, where we climbed through volcanic rubble and saw underwater ecosystems.
41: Later that day, we went to Fernandina Island, where we saw mountains of sea iguanas piled on top of each other. Everywhere you looked, you could find iguanas. Of course, there were also plenty of sea lions. Its volcanic terrain gave it a rugged beauty, but its scaly inhabitants really gave it life.
44: On Friday, our first stop was Santaigo Island. We saw some beautiful new birds and even got to see a sea lion pup that was born about an hour earlier. It was such a beautiful sight.
46: On Santiago Island, we got the opportunity to go snorkeling around the area. While Dad and I were snorkeling near the rocks, a mother sea lion and her two babies came over and started doing flips in the water. At one point, each of the pups took a hold of Dad's flippers and started chewing on them. It was one of the biggest highlights of the trip.
48: Santa Cruz Island | Santa Cruz was a beautiful island that had fewer animals but amazing giant cacti and crystal coves in rocky shores.
50: On our last day, we ventured to the Charles Darwin Research Station where we got to see the most famous of the Galapagos Giant Tortoises - Lonesome George. While we were at the research center, we got to see all three types of tortoises that live in the Galapagos. Each turtle has a different shape to their shell, identifying their species. After the research center, we got to see the tortoises in their natural habitat. It was an amazing experience getting to see such magnificent creatures.
52: As our journey ends, I look back and see a trip filled with unforgettable memories and unbelievable experiences. It was the most amazing trip of my life. I am so happy I got to spend time with my dad and Helen, and that we could share in this adventure together. It really was the trip of a lifetime, and it is something I will never forget.