Galapagos

Ecuador and Galapagos

5/31/2011

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Quito, Ecuador's Capitol


At 9000' altitude, it's quite a way up in the mountains. Ecuador, being 85% Catholic, of course sports many magnificent churches

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Overlooking Quito from the surrounding mountains. Quito is at 9000', so we must've been around 12,000'
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Way up in the mountains surrounding Quito, a statue of the Virgin Mary looks down. Kind of like the statue of Jesus in Rio de Janeiro
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Traditional garb. The people are a mix of Spanish, Incan, and Quitos (the orignal indigenous people)
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She was selling the cloth for $2... offered her $1 instead for a photo
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Protestors... claiming the current government head is corrupt. So, pretty much just like here...
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Our group at the hotel before leaving for the islands

Sea Lions

Sea Lions (not to be confused with seals) where everywhere, and blissfully unimpressed with our presence. In keeping with the Darwinian theme of the islands, our guide explained that sea lions are descended from wolves, while seals are descended from an ancient bear.

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Our "Hotel"

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OK... you're the cabin boy, you're bored, whadd'ya do? Make animals out of the towels, of course!
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Our guide. He faces an interesting dilemma... While very knowledgable about Darwin and evolution in general, and happy to tell us about it, he still (in a moment of weakness) confessed he cannot believe in evolution... being, after all, a good Christian in a VERY Catholic country

The Galapagos Islands

Well, they're islands... pretty much like any others you're going to see anywhere else in the ocean.

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The "Post Office". This dates back hundreds of years, when passing ships (whalers, cartographers, etc) would leave mail to be picked up by any other passing ship, in the hopes that it would eventually find it's way to the recipient.
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Big sinkholes
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Iguanas

The black ones are the marine variety... they swim in the ocean and eat algae, then come up on land to sun themselves. Not afraid of humans at all. The colorful ones below are land iguanas, and are bred by the Darwin center to re-populate areas where they have been wiped out.

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Birds

...and more birds. In the shots below, the most prominent are blue and red footed boobies (go ahead, laugh...), Nazca boobies, and frigate birds

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Frigate birds inflate a red pouch to attract females
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Nazca boobie
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Galapagos gul
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juvenile boobie hungry for dinner
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George figures, "Hey, if it works for frigate birds, maybe it'll work for me... Nancy's peals of laughter at his expense prove otherwise
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Tortoises

Well, it's the Galapagos... ya gotta have tortoises. They live wild, although some are also bred in captivity to re-populate areas where they have been having trouble

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Miscellaneous

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Sally Lightfoot crabs
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