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Created 24-Aug-19
Modified 25-Aug-19
In May, 2019 Susana and I and two close friends spent 15 days touring the Galapagos Islands on board the three masted sailing yacht the Mary Anne. We spent a day at both ends in Guayaquil. The trip was run by Wilderness Travel. For the first week on the boat there were 10 other travelers while for the second week there were twelve with no overlap except for the four of us. Our Captain was Mario and our indefatigable tour leader and naturalist guide was Cecibel Guerrero (Ceci). There was little overlap of islands visited in the course of the two weeks.

We visited, more or less in order, the following Islands (the older and British names are given in parentheses after the commonly used Spanish names): Baltra (South Seymour), Santa Cruz (Indefatigable), Genovesa (Tower), Bartolome and Sombrero Chino, both off the coast of Santiago (James Island), Rabida ( Jarvis), the el Chato Tortoise Reserve and Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz South Plaza, Santa Fe (Barrington), Espanola (Hood), Floreana (Charles), Isabela (Albemarle - by far the biggest of the Islands), North Seymour, and Fernandina (Narborough).

The Galapagos straddle the Equator so sunrise and sunset are always around 6 AM and 6 PM, respectively. It is only between these times that tourists are allowed to set foot on the Islands. So on a typical day we would leave the Mary Anne on two Pangas (Zodiacs) in order to land on an island by sunup before the heat of the day set in. we had both "wet" and "dry" landings meaning we either waded through calf-deep water to get onto a sandy beach or were able to step directly onto rocks. After a two hour walk on carefully marked trails we’d head back to the ship for breakfast. Those who wanted could then go snorkeling before lunch. Often there would be a second opportunity for snorkeling in the afternoon or a “coastal tour” in the pangas before a second hike on the island for two hours winding up at sunset. Tour companies must reserve landing times well in advance of a tour. It is much to Wilderness Travel's credit and planning that our walks were scheduled during the coolest ("least hot" would be a better phrase) parts of the day. Back to the boat for a shower, dinner, and a briefing by Ceci on the next day’s activities. Food was always excellent and plentiful. Oh, yes, many of us would try to grab a short nap during the day. Talk about a strenuous vacation!

COMMENTS ON EQUIPMENT USED: Unless noted otherwise, all of the images taken on this trip were made with two Nikon Z7 bodies. One had the Nikon FTZ lens adaptor with my Nikon 80-400mm zoom. The other had either the Z-type 24-70 mm f/4.0 or the Z 14-30 mm f/4.0. I have had these cameras since late 2018 and I’m extremely pleased with them for several reasons. First of all they are significantly lighter than the D800 and D810 I used previously. The sensors are also larger allowing for tighter cropping in Lightroom or Photoshop and their noise level and processing algorithms are better allowing the use of higher ISOs when needed. My impression is that the “in-camera” vibration reduction is better than the in-lens systems used for the DSLRs by at least one stop. The 14-30 WA zoom is ⅔ the weight of the 16-35 F-type and much more compact. The extra 2 mm on the wide end makes a noticeable difference. Similarly, the 24-70 is also ⅔ the weight and quite compact compared with the 24-120 f/4.0 I previously used, though I do miss the loss of reach on the long end. I brought along a lightweight Gitzo tripod but it never left our cabin. Although my walking stick could convert into a monopod and I carried the special head for this purpose, the head never left my camera backpack. For one thing, with more than a dozen people in our two groups the pace of walking was not conducive to setting up a monopod let alone a tripod. But perhaps more important, there was so much light that I never felt the need for a camera support given the high level of performance of the Z7s.

I previously visited the Galapagos in 1993. On that trip there were only two other people. This made for a considerably more relaxed photographic experience. My website has a page devoted to those images (Galapagos 1993), but I have incorporated the best ones here, adding “1993” to the title. They were all taken on Kodachrome 64 with a Nikon FA and an F4. Lenses included primes and zooms from 20mm to 300mm.

Birds

Visitors 10
73 photos
Created 29-Aug-19
Modified 29-Aug-19
Birds

Cacti and Other Plants

Visitors 3
11 photos
Created 14-Sep-19
Modified 14-Sep-19
Cacti and Other Plants

Giant Tortoises, Iguanas, Lizards, Crabs, Spiders

Visitors 3
20 photos
Created 29-Aug-19
Modified 29-Aug-19
Giant Tortoises, Iguanas, Lizards, Crabs, Spiders

Landscapes, Seascapes

Visitors 11
43 photos
Created 14-Sep-19
Modified 14-Sep-19
Landscapes, Seascapes

People, Our Boat, and Guayaquil

Visitors 13
17 photos
Created 29-Aug-19
Modified 29-Aug-19
People, Our Boat, and Guayaquil

Sea Lions and Fur Seals

Visitors 6
11 photos
Created 29-Aug-19
Modified 29-Aug-19
Sea Lions and Fur Seals