Galapagos: North Seymour Island

Last night, I dreamt that I had returned home and found that Mao Mao had grown fat. Then I realized that she was pregnant! Normally, I would be happy to see her again (I’m nice that way) but Mao Mao did something in the dream which made me angry. I couldn’t remember what she did though, I just remembered being so angry that I did not want to speak to her. Spider said to me, “Never mind lah, don’t bear grudges against a pregnant woman.”

I woke up at 6:15am and finished my packing. Then it was time for breakfast. This time I only ate a little for breakfast. My stomach wasn’t feeling well. There was a bit of dull pain and I thought that I might had gotten gastric flu. I am prone to gastric flu and had experienced it enough times to recognize the symptoms.

North Seymour Island

In the morning, we went to North Seymour Island. The island was relatively flat and covered with grass and shrubs.

Frigate bird

It was also the nesting site for the frigate birds. Even though we have seen the frigate birds several during the cruise, they only nest on this island. We saw a male frigate bird sitting on a nest. Hernan told us that the male and female would take turns to sit on the nest.

Female frigate bird

We also saw a female frigate bird. There were two kinds of frigate birds in Galapagos – the magnificent frigate bird and the great frigate bird. Hernan said that we could tell the different between a magnificent and a great by the color of the eye ring. The magnificent frigate bird had a blue eye ring while a great frigate bird had a red eye ring.

Male frigate bird

It was towards the end of the mating session so most of the frigate birds were already pair up. We were lucky to find a lonely male inflated out his gular sac to attract females. Unlike us, frigate birds could not huff air out of their lungs so they inflate the sac by squeezing the air from the cells into the sac.

Land iguana

There were also land iguanas on this island. Hernan told us that the land iguanas were actually brought over to North Seymour from Baltra Island. Due to the building of an airport on Baltra Island during the World War II (and allegedly soldiers who shot the land iguanas for amusement), the land iguanas became extinct on Baltra Island in 1954. Luckily some where brought to North Seymour in 1930s so the surviving iguanas were brought back to repopulate Baltra Island again in 1990s. Hernan said that the land iguanas could live up to at least 70 years as some of the original iguanas from 1930s were brought back to Baltra Island.

Land iguana

KKH and I thought the land iguanas on North Seymour were not as yellow as the ones we saw on Dragon Hill.

Pelicans

We also saw some pelicans on the rocky coast.

Pelican

Their beaks looked so big and bulky. I wondered if they find it difficult to preen their feathers?

Swallow-tailed gull

There were also some swallow-tailed gulls on North Seymour but not as many as Española Island.

Coral I

Finally it was time to say goodbye to this yacht which had been my home for the past seven days. I would be happy to cruise among the Galapagos Islands forever. Endless blue skies and sapphire seas. This is what paradise feels like.

But all good things much come to an end. Besides, I don’t have enough money to keep travelling forever. So we bid goodbye to Jorge, Hernan, Alex and Daisuke (the Japanese guy). Daisuke would be staying at Santa Cruz for another day and planned to take a day trip tomorrow to Isabela Island before continuing his travels other parts of South America.

Alex sent us off at Baltra Airport where we would be taking an Aerogal flight to Quito. Hernan was taking the same flight as us but I noticed that he sat in the roomier seats at the front of the plane. This time, there was no entertainment system in the plane. I commented that KKH would not be able to finish the movie she watched halfway on the flight to Galapagos. “Ya, we’ve been downgraded,” KKH agreed. Soon after take off, KKH had to change seats as someone’s coffee in the hand luggage compartment had leaked and was dripping on her. Since there was no TV to watch, I slept for the duration of the flight.

The plane stopped first in Guayaquil and then proceeded on to Quito. We landed in Quito at 3pm and was met by an Adventure Life representative at the gate. He had arranged transport to send us to our hotel. As Quito was 2,850m above sea level, he advised us to take it easy and drink lots of water so that we do not get altitude sickness. The temperature was around 17°C and I had to wear a jacket. We asked the guide about the weather and he replied that it had been cloudy for the past few days. “But you never know,” he added as the weather was unpredictable and the skies could suddenly become clear.

Hotel room keys

We stayed at Hostal de la Rábida which was a very nice little hotel that was decorated in a European style. We were greeted by a friendly man who spoke very good English. He checked us in and gave us the room keys which were attached to a big key chain. He also took the time and initiative to provide us with a map of the area and drew out the routes of where we could go if we wanted to take a walk nearby.

Hostal de la Rábida

Our hotel room was very nice! It had a private little courtyard where we could seat and relax. I’m not sure if all the rooms were like that or it was just our room which had its own courtyard.

Hostal de la Rábida

Our room was decorated in an old fashion style. I like the retro wallpaper. It made look yesteryear but there was a certain charm to it. On top of a side table which was made from an old sewing machine, there was a pitcher of drinking water. If we wanted to refill it, we could just take the pitcher to the reception which was just directly opposite the door of our courtyard so it was quite convenient. The hotel gave their guests pitchers of water instead of bottled water in an effort to reduce waste. We needed to pay for each refill but it was quite cheap so it was okay.

Hostal de la Rábida

The bathroom was furnished in the same style. Wooden sink, wooden toilet seat, wooden toilet paper holder, so retro!

Quito

After resting for a while, KKH and I went out for a walk. Unlike KKH, I would be travelling out of Quito tomorrow so I would like to see a bit of Quito before I left. We walked slowly and tried not exert ourselves. As a cautionary tale, KKH told me that her friend ran for 5 mins and suffered from altitude sickness for the next three days. We walked for around 45 mins and then it rained. Since it was already getting dark, and now it would also be cold and wet, we decided to return to the hotel and rest instead.

Locro de papa

KKH and I had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant which was just a small dining room. We shared a soup called Locro de papa which was a typical Andean potato soup with cheese and avocado. The soup was very filling and I think a whole avocado was used.

Bread

We were also given two slices of bread. Thinking that it was “just one slice of bread, how filling could it be”, we ate a slice each. Between the soup and the bread, by the time the main course arrived at the table, we were feeling quite full already.

Pesto fettuccine

KKH had a pesto fettuccine. It was really quite tasty but she was feeling so full that try as she might, it still looked untouched at the end of the meal.

Gnocchi with tomato sauce

I had gnocchi with tomato sauce. It was nice and the sauce tasted like it was freshly made. I did better than KKH. I managed to eat half of it before I too had to wave the white flag.

It seemed like such a waste of good food but KKH and I really could not eat another bite. KKH said we should have shared the main course too. I agreed.

We were very apologetic when the staff (it was the same man who greeted us) came to collect the plates. We told him that the food was very nice but we were not feeling well. He was very understanding about it. I wondered if other tourists also had no appetite when they first arrived?

We spent the rest of the evening in our room, just reading or watching TV. I was feeling a bit tired and slightly out of breath which was likely a result of the altitude. We drank so much water that we refilled our pitcher twice. At night, we watched a horror movie that was so bizarre that both of us felt more puzzled than scared. We only caught the second half of the movie so most of the time we were too busy trying to figure out what was happening to feel scared. At the end of the movie, we found out that it was called The Hills Have Eyes.

We slept with heater on but it was still so cold that I covered myself with the soft comfy blanket.

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