Less Is More - Sold our home, sold our stuff.... Going on an adventure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Moose_DK, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Photowriter

    Photowriter Been here awhile

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    And PLEASE keep reporting from your travels. Very informative and as photographer I especially like the professional way you handle cameras and photo editing!
  2. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    Local life in Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz)
    November 3, 2017
    We went to the Galapagos islands, because we love nature and animals. To be at the right place at the right time to get to see the animals in their natural habitat was our biggest aim for this trip. We landed in Baltra Airport and took the bus to Puerto Ayora. Sitting in the right side of the bus, we saw several giant tortoises on our way. After getting to Puerto Ayora we were positively surprised how the people and animals pretty much live together.

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    Just passing by the fish market on our way to Galapagos Best Hostel – our home for the next 6 nights

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    It almost look like, that Esben wants a lobster as his pet [​IMG]. Well the lobsters here are amazing in size and numbers!

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    Check out this “monster”, which only cost 60 USD on a restaurant at “Los Kiosko”. The lobsters that we had on “Die Stahratte”, we ate one each. I am pretty sure that I would not be able to eat this one alone, but I know that Esben would give it a try, and then complain about his stomach afterwards. A lobster of this size is for four people!

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    “Los Kiosko” is a street that gets closed of for cars every night at 6:00 pm, and the restaurants set up tables on the street. The street is touristy, but the atmosphere is great. The prices are decent, and if you go for lunch it is cheaper, but less to choose between. So visit the “Los Kiosko”.

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    We didn’t go for the big lobster, but meet up with our new friends Sally and Collins (Mr. and Mrs. Smith). We had a local dish with seafood in a peanut butter sauce – it was good.

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    Together with the meal we had three drinks for 10 USD – not bad for Galapagos. Here everything is more expensive, but a lot of things is still cheaper than at home (in Denmark). If you want to know how much money we used during our stay on the Galapagos, check out this overview: “Expenses in the Galapagos Islands (23 days of travel)”. You can also see what we paid for all our activities/tours.

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    If you want to eat where the locals eat? Go to the street called “Duncan”, where you can get amazing empanadas for 1-2 USD.

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    You can also get grilled intestines, that taste good, but not great… because they are chewy. In the long run, when you chew a lot, it is just a little bit to much – okay we have tried it [​IMG]. The grilled intestines are served with salsa, corn and fried potato (right picture).

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    For my birthday we went to Midori Sushi and Pub. A British inspired pub that serves sushi.. The first Friday each month they have all you can eat sushi, and I was so lucky that my birthday was on Friday the 1st of September this year! It was really good sushi and I did have all I could eat.

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    Actually most meals we cooked ourselves. Got groceries in the local supermarket and went back to the fish market to buy fresh tuna or white fish. A good piece of tuna was 7-8 USD, which we could cut into 4 tuna steaks, for two dinners. It is a lot cheaper to cook your own food, and you can make it more healthy by adding vegetables. When you eat out, the dishes lack vegetables, but has a lot of white rice.


    pBuying fresh tuna – love it [​IMG]

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    Sometimes I had to stand in line at the fish market

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    Everybody wanting a piece of the “cake”

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    The result – homemade tuna burger

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    After it gets dark (daylight is from 6 am to 6 pm – we are close to the equator) you can see baby sharks from the dock. Amazing – we love it [​IMG]

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  3. Duanob

    Duanob Adventurer

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    What a great trip report! You guys are having a great time and showing us all how to do it! I love it. You should give lessons on how to write a proper trip report you have a great talent for it. You have a great balance of pics, text, always telling us where you are on what date. It's very easy to follow along. I've been to Ecuador and Quito. If you need a great place for rest and relaxation hit the coast at Esmereldas and go south along the coast to a tiny fishing/surfing village called Mompiche (coord: 0.507029, -80.022958 ). they have tree house bungalows on the beach that are pretty cool. You can definitely rest and recuperate there.

    I understand your weary travelling and the hard ships from your illness. My wife came down with an inner ear infection that led to a severe case of vertigo and migraine headaches about three years ago. It's getting better but it still affects our travel plans for which we just plan around it. If she doesn't get her 2 - 3 hour naps in the mid day she is shattered for days afterwards. When she gets tired she gets migraine headaches and can't do anything until they subside. Also we noticed that rain and stormy weather play a big role in when she gets her migraines. Since we live in Seattle needless to say she gets them more in the winter than the summer. We still travel but not like we used too. We stay in hotels now just so she has a comfortable quiet place to nap. As far as my moto trips these days they are just short trips with a buddy maybe for a weekend. I would love to come down and buy your motorcycles and keep them moving south but I don't think it's in our cards. I say good luck to you and if you can still travel by other means then just do it! :)
  4. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Been here awhile

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    Have you two considered moving your RR to the INMATES SECTION of this site? It will allow you to keep posting without riding. :y0!
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  5. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Dirt Farmer

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    Happy B-Day! (Very late by this time) My B-Day is Sept 1st too :D
  6. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    No actually not. Never came to mind. But it might be a good idea
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  7. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    The giant tortoise safari (Santa Cruz)
    November 5, 2017
    The giant tortoises of Galapagos are among the most famous of the unique fauna of the Islands. I am extremely fascinated of these giant pre-historical animals.

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    The Galapagos Islands were named for their giant tortoises; the old Spanish word “galapago” meant saddle, a term early explorers used for the tortoises due to the shape of their shells. While giant tortoises once thrived on most of the continents of the world, the Galapagos tortoises now represent one of the remaining two groups of giant tortoises in the entire world — the other group living on Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean. Although there is a great amount of variation in size and shape among Galapagos tortoises, two main morphological forms exist – the domed carapace (left picture) and the saddle-backed carapace (right picture). Source: https://www.galapagos.org/about_galapagos/about-galapagos/biodiversity/tortoises/

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    The domed tortoises tend to be much larger in size and do not have the upward thrust to the front of their carapace. They live on the larger, higher islands with humid highlands where forage is generally abundant and easily available. So we rented two bicycles and headed for the highlands on Santa Cruz.

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    It was pretty much up hill all the way to the small town Santa Rosa, where we turned of the main road. As soon as we turned on to the dirt road leading to Ranch El Chato the giant tortoises were everywhere.

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    It was great to be on the bicycles, because we could just stop every time we saw a tortoise. A lot of taxi’s do a 40 minute trip from Puerto Ayora, but they only stop at the ranch and the nearby lave tunnel. We spend 5-6 hours, and took a lot of pictures.

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    You can get really close to the tortoises, but always respect the animals. In the right picture you see one of the biggest tortoises that we saw on our way – once again it was just amazing! These tortoises can weigh as much as 417 kg (919 lb) and can grow to be 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) long. Giant tortoises are among the world’s longest-living animals, with an average lifespan of 100 years or more. Some giant tortoises have lived a life in a zoo, and a few tortoises have lived for about 176 and 255 years.

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    Saddle-backed shells evolved on the arid islands in response to the lack of available food during drought. The front of the carapace angles upward, allowing the tortoise to extend its head higher to reach the higher vegetation, such as cactus pads. All our pictures of the saddle-back tortoises are from the Darwin Research Center in Puerto Ayora.

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    Galapagos tortoises are herbivorous, feeding primarily on cactus pads, grasses, and native fruit

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    Depending on when you visit the Darwin Center the tortoises will be active or inactive. We were lucky to visit around lunch time, and the tortoises had been feed (just ask when the tortoises will be feed next time, and plan your visit according to the feeding). They were really active, walking around and eating. If you visit in the afternoon the tortoises are more likely just to lay on the ground. Also the tortoises in the wild were more active.

    A few close ups [​IMG] – notice the deferens between the shells

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    With the establishment of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation in 1959, a systematic review of the status of the tortoise populations began. Only 11 of the 14 originally named populations remained and most of these were endangered if not already on the brink of extinction. The giant tortoises can no longer reproduce in the nature. To avoid total extinction there has been established three breading centers, one on each island: Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Christobal.

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    In the wild the tortoises seek out a dry places with the right temperature and enough earth to dig a nest. After digging the nest the tortoises will lay 6-14 eggs (this a lot less compared to a sea turtle, that can lay about 100 eggs in one nest). When the nest hatch, the newborns have to scrape away the hardened earth of the nest. It take about 30 days before the newborns reach the surface, during this time they don’t have anything to eat or drink. They survive thanks to a food reserve inside their bodies. When the newborns leave the nest, they have to survive on their own. At present, no tortoise born in the wild manage to survive, therefore the breeding centers are necessary for the tortoises to survive.

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    p align=”cThese are the threats that makes in impossible for the tortoises to reproduce in the wild

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    Maybe you have heard about “Lonesome George”. He was a male Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdonii) and the last known individual of the species and died June 24, 2012 his estimated ages was 102 years. George was first seen on the island of pinta on 1 November 1971. The island’s vegetation had been devastated by introduced feral goats, and the indigenous C. abingdonii population had been reduced to a single individual. George was then penned with two females of a different subspecies. Although eggs were produced, none hatched. Unfortunately, no other Pinta tortoises were found. The Pinta tortoise was pronounced functionally extinct as George was in captivity (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonesome_George). Today the stuffed Lonesome George are displayed at the Charles Darwin Research Center.

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    That was all I had about the giant tortoises on Galapagos – love them and hope that they will survive due to the breeding program [​IMG]
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  8. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    Snorkeling with sea lions and sea turtles (Santa Fé and Los Tuneles)
    November 8, 2017
    We did two snorkeling trips. Santa Fé from Santa Cruz and Los Tuneles from Isabela… we decided to take the PADI Open Water and Advanced course while on Galapagos, therefore we didn’t go to Kicker Rock from San Christobal (so if you don’t scuba dive, we would recommend Kicker Rock). There is a lot of agencies that offer the same trips, including “Santa Fé” and “Los Tuneles”. The water is cold this time of year, so a wetsuit is necessary or we would highly recommend a long one. How to pick the right agency?

    Before picking a agency consider these things to get a good tour:
    (1) try the wetsuits and make sure they have one that fits tight (a lot of places the wetsuits were to big for me, Camilla)
    (2) check that they have fins in your size and try them on (if the fins are on the boat you can not be sure, that they have your size – I had the problem, because I have small feet)
    (3) ask if the guide speaks a little bit of English or speak fluently English (few guides only speak Spanish)
    (4) ask if the guide will take pictures on the tour. A lot of agencies use GoPro cameras and take underwater pictures on the tour, after you can get the pictures on YOUR OWN memory stick – bring one
    (5) read online which animals you can see, at the time you are visiting, because the agencies does not always tell the truth (they have a tendency of promising to much)
    (6) read online reviews of the agency fx on TripAdvisor
    (7) bring your own seasickness pills – just in case. The more prepared agencies usually have extra seasickness pills

    Okay all this sounds a little bit negative, but ”YES” you have to go on some tours to see the life underwater – it is amazing

    Santa Fé

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    First we was not that impressed over the snorkeling at Santa Fé, but Esben got a few good shots of some colorful fish (the big one is a bluechin parrotfish). Also the water was very clear at the first snorkeling spot, which was great.

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    Out of the blue two sea lions showed up! They were curious and just wanted to play around. They also get really close, but when you think that you are about to collide with the sea lion, it makes a quick turn preventing it from happening. I had a blast! I just loved swimming around with them – the bad thing was, that all the other people on the tour was already back in the boat, just waiting for us – or they were yelling at us, because we had to return to the boat.

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    I did get a shot of Esben – but off course he was busy taking pictures [​IMG]

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    With all the hard work that he puts into taking all those picture – it also pays of in the end. When I am writing the blog, it makes me appreciate all the pictures even more. Thank you – love you [​IMG]

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    All tours include lunch and a dry towel (at least the ones we have been on) and maybe a snack. The good thing about visiting Galapagos in the low season, is that the boats are not stuffed with tourists. We could also just book our tours the day before, and pick the tour we wanted, because there was always room. The bad thing is that the sea is rough, at I had to lived on seasickness pills, every time we had to get on a boat for more than 5 minutes.

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    Sailing of and getting one more view of the sea lions, which would not be the last!

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    Not even 5 minutes after sailing for home… a humpback whale shows up. Splashing in the water

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    Los Tuneles

    The snorkeling spot on the tour “Los Tuneles” is not called “Los Tuneles”, but the water is shallow and perfect for snorkeling. Sea turtles come here to feet, and the white tippet reef sharks hide in all the caves.

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    We saw so many sea turtles, and it is just amazing how close we could get – this is why we came to Galapagos in the first place [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

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    The white tippet reef sharks

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    The Pacific sea horse – The only known oceanic island population occurs around the Galapagos Islands

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    Esben really likes to take pictures, and a lot of the things he see underwater is through his camera (Olympus TG-5, the newest edition). I feel different… I really like to work together with Esben to get some good photos underwater with him or me together with a turtle. Sometimes I have an idea for a picture, and we try to get the short. I also like not to take pictures, and just focus on the wildlife around me and it is important for me that there is room for both (sometimes Esben don’t agree).

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    p align=”center”>So Esben takes of ready with his camera in his right hand [​IMG]

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    At “Los Tuneles” we didn’t see a lot of colorful fish – this is a “Golden Eye Grunt”, but we came for the sea turtles and sharks

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    After the snorkeling we went to the area called “Los Tuneles” (The Cabo Rosa tunnels), I thing you can see how it got its name. The landscape is the result of lava platforms that collapsed into the sea, which created hundreds of lava tunnels and bridges of lava, above and below the water.

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    It is beautiful to sail through the rocky lava landscape, and it is allowed to go on shore

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    Here the blue footed booby nest – love the blue feet!

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    The boobie’s feet doesn’t get the blue color before they are adults. As you can see on these two pictures of a chick (left picture) and a youth boobie (right picture).

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    In total we had an amazing tour to “Los Tuneles” with the agency PAHOEHOE, http://pahoehoegalapagos.com/en/pahoehoe-galapagos-islands-tours/. Our guide spoke fluently English and pointed out the Pacific sea horse, chased the white tippet reef shark out of the caves and took some amazing photos. A few of the photos in this post was taken by our guide.
  9. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Been here awhile

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    Such a great RR, keep it coming. :clap
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  10. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    DIY! Las Grietas and Tortuga bay (Santa Cruz)
    November 12, 2017
    DIY = do it yourself. A lot of tours and activities are offered by several agencies. They will all tell you that their tour is the best, and if you don’t go, you won’t see the real Galapagos. A lot of places it is mandatory to have a guide, and off course it is important to respect the laws of the National Park. Still there is several things that you can do on your own: visit the ranch El Chato and the lava tunnel (like we did on the bicycles), las Grietas, Tortuga bay and all the smaller beaches (bring snorkeling gear). We spend one day visiting Las Grietas and Tortuga bay.

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    p align=”center”>Las Grietas (The Crevices)

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    You have to take a water taxi (1 USD per person – totally overpriced for distance) to where to trail begins. From there the trail passes by lagoons, a beach, and the residential zone until reaching the cliffs of Las Grietas. Esben going all in to take some great photos underwater.

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    Here it is possible to observe two very distinct levels of water – fresh water at the surface and the salt water of the sea at the bottom. It is a great place to go for a swim. The time limit for the visit is 30 min, because of the many tourists. We visited in low season and the place was not crowded, and we could stay 45 min. I can imagine that the place will get really crowed in high season – so get there early.

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    There is a spot were you can dive underneath some rock to get t the next pool – pretty cool! You go past the first rock formation, make sure you climb on the dry rock, because the wet rock are really slippery! You swim forward in the next pool, here you will meet the rock formation, that you see in the bottom of the right picture. You can dive underneath the rocks in the right side of the canyon. If you can’t find it, try from the other side, where it is easier to find it from the other side!

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    Spotted a school of fish

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    After the swim in Las Grietas we walked all the way to Tortuga bay, which takes about an hour each way. As soon as you get out of town you reach a trail (walking only) that takes you through an impassable landscape, all the way to the ocean.

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    You take a right turn on the beach, and follow the beach until you reach Tortuga bay. At the far end of Tortuga bay we rented a kayak (10 USD per person).

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    I controlled the kayak and Esben could jump into the water. Okay the kayak had an anchor, but the water was pretty cold. I could also spot sea turtles popping up their heads to breath. This day we got our fist picture of a sea turtle while it swam underneath the kayak. We had awesome day – so why is their no picture of the sea turtle? Because later on our Galapagos adventure, it got so much better!

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    Esben also got a few good pictures underwater. In the left picture a marble ray with two bullseye puffer fish. In the right picture a spotted tiger eel [​IMG]

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  11. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    The marine iguana–the reptile of the sea
    November 15, 2017
    Esben loved the marine iguanas

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    The marine iguana is a species of iguana found only on the Galápagos Islands that has the ability to swim in the sea. This iguana feeds almost exclusively on algae and large males dive to find this food source, while females and smaller males feed during low tide in the intertidal zone. Marine iguanas can dive as deep as 20 m (66 ft), and can spend up to one hour underwater. Most dives are shallower than 5 m (16 ft), and much shorter in duration with near-shore foraging individuals typical only spending about 3 minutes underwater.

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    They mainly live in colonies on rocky shores where they warm after visiting the relatively cold water or intertidal zone.

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    BUT – they can also be seen in marshes, mangrove and beaches – or even on the streets!

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    Going into the ocean!

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    Researchers theorize that land iguanas and marine iguanas evolved from a common ancestor since arriving on the islands from Central or South America, presumably by rafting. The marine iguana diverged from the land iguanas some 8–10 million years ago, which is older than any of the extant Galápagos islands. It is therefore thought that the ancestral species inhabited parts of the volcanic archipelago that are now submerged. Marine iguanas range from 12 to 49 cm (4.7–19.3 in) in snout-to-vent length and have a tail length from 17 to 84 cm (6.7–33.1 in). There are major differences between the islands (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_iguana).

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    A few close ups

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    Often spending time together with the Sally Lightfoot Crabs (right picture)

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    Sally Lightfoot crabs are brightly-colored coastal scavengers, they have an extremely generalist diet, feeding on anything from sea lion placenta to other crabs. This makes them an important part of the ecosystem, as they provide services such as keeping the shore clean of any organic debris and eating ticks off marine iguanas. Adult crabs show characteristic intense blue and red coloring on their shells, with a white or pale blue underbelly. Younger crabs have darker coloration with red spots, providing a higher degree of camouflage (Source: http://galapagosconservation.org.uk/wildlife/sally-lightfoot-crab/).

    They are beautiful

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    But the marine iguanas are not the only cool iguanas here on Galapagos. Galapagos are also home to three species of land iguana. The well-known yellowish land iguanas (Conolophus subcristatus), native to six islands, and Conolophus pallidus, found only on the island of Santa Fe. A third species of land iguana (Conolophus marthae), the pink or rosada iguana, was first seen in 1986 and remained unstudied until the 2000s. It is found only on Wolf Volcano at the northern end of Isabela Island. It has a pinkish head, and pinkish and black body and legs, often with black stripes. The new species is morphologically, behaviorally, and genetically distinguished from the other two (Source: https://www.galapagos.org/about_galapagos/about-galapagos/biodiversity/reptiles/).

    We were lucky to see the yellow iguana at the Darwin Research Center

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    Land iguanas are large — more than 3 feet long — with males weighing up to 30 pounds. Land iguanas can live for more than 50 years. They feed mainly on low-growing plants and shrubs, as well as fallen fruits and cactus pads. Land iguanas show a fascinating symbiotic interaction with Darwin’s finches, as do giant tortoises, raising themselves off the ground and allowing the little birds to remove ticks.
  12. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Wow!
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  13. jredford

    jredford Ninja Racer

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    So cool, thank you.
  14. everready

    everready Stuck in Ohio....Ugh!!!

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    Very cool. They remind me of all of those B rated movies I watched while growing up in the 70's.
    It just needed some scary background music.
  15. bbanker

    bbanker Been here awhile

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    Awesome!
  16. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    Thanks. everyone.. We know it is not really motorcycle related but it has been a part of our trip and Galapagos was for sure the most amazing place we have ever been.
  17. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Dirt Farmer

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    No worries on that at least from me. I did a ride report last year about my trip from Washington State to Florida. I saw 26 (?) museums along the way and posted up shots from each of them. My trip was on a bike, but it was far from the focus of the trip.

    Once you get into the van portion of your journey just start a new thread in Inmates, post a link in this thread, and continue on as you always have.
  18. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Been here awhile

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    What Jimmy said, the bike is just a mode of transportation.
  19. NOTAGAIN

    NOTAGAIN Been here awhile

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    thank you for the great pictures and taking time to post!!!!!
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  20. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    DIY! Wall of tears and snorkeling (Isabela)
    November 17, 2017
    After arriving on Isabela island we decided to go on our own the first 2 days (DIY = do it yourself). The Wall of Tears was constructed between the years of 1945 and 1959 by prisoners in the penal colony on the island, which had been established by President José María Velasco Ibarra in 1944, using infrastructure left by the US military after World War II. The wall is about 25 m (65 feet) tall, and is said to have been the cause of thousands of deaths during its construction (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_of_Tears_(Gal%C3%A1pagos_Islands)).

    [​IMG]When the wall was built, Galapagos was not the place we appreciate and love today, it was a distant retreat for adventures or scary outcasts and a destination for political prisoners and common delinquents. This day rented two bicycles and rode the 4 kilometers to the Wall of Tear, except of a few places with to much sand to ride in. We love seeing Galapagos from the bicycles, simply because the landscape is so different from everything else we have seen.

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    From the Wall of Tears a trail leads to a viewpoint, but the trail also gave us the view of the wall from above

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    Esben enjoying the local wildlife!

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    On the way back we stopped at the green lake – not really a pretty sight

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    Stopped at a breach, but because of high tide, there was not that much beach left

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    Took a right turn at the next beach where we enjoyed a sandwich

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    Again here on Isabela you see the amazing marine iguanas. Here you see a big male looking after the baby marine iguanas. An adult male weighs about 70% more than adult females.

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    Taking a look at the flamingoes in a series of Lagoons that will lead you to the Breeding Center of giant tortoises on Isabela. In the bird world, the flamingo has the longest neck and longest legs in comparison to its body size. The Galapagos flamingo feeds on small crustaceans and tiny water plants. One interesting fact is that flamingos can only eat with their heads upside down. The brilliant pink coloring of Galapagos flamingos comes from their diet. Their primary food source is crustaceans, which contain carotenoids, a pigment that causes the flamingos to maintain their bright pink color. (yes these photos has gotten an extra boost of pink)

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    Back to Puerto Villamil (the only town on Isabela) we headed for the dock and Concha Perla. We parked the bicycles at the dock and enjoyed the locals, that were relaxing the the benches in the shade.

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    Others occupying the sidewalk – we love it, this is what makes Galapagos so special to us [​IMG]

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    Don’t forget to look where you put your feet, when you walk on the sidewalk

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    Getting to Concha Perla, which is a small wooden wharf, where you can go snorkeling. We got into the water, enjoying the cold water without a wetsuit. Okay, we enjoyed the wildlife instead! Two sea turtles swimming around. Other visitors had seen a big manta ray resting on the bottom, but we didn’t see one the day we were there. Don’t forget that it is nature – not the zoo!

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    This is an adult male, which you can recognize on the big tail

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    Swimming to the surface to breath

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    What a great day!
    ShimrMoon, Todd157k, scudo and 8 others like this.