April 18, 2010
Before writing about the last day, allow me to back up a bit to the last evening.
Avie had a rough go the late afternoon and early evening. His seasickness patch, which had worked so well through the entire trip, peeled off, the result of heavy sweating while on Española.
While he thought it wouldn’t make a big difference, it did. He was sick through dinner and retired to the cabin immediately after (first applying a new patch to try and alleviate the nausea).
I remained for the final evening’s “ceremony”, which turned out to be an award ceremony, of sorts.
The Captain, naturalists Ivan and Fatima, and the rest of the crew, put on their dress uniforms and we were all given cocktails. They went called each passenger, giving us our new, “Galapagos names” as certified by Imperium Neptuni Regis (Imperial King Neptune) and our own Captain Victor. Before giving each name either Ivan or Fatima would give clues so we could guess what our new name would be.
I accepted Avie’s certificate on his behalf. He was renamed “Waved Albatross”. When it was my turn they didn’t even have to give clues. We all knew my new “Galapagos name” would have to be “Darwin’s Finches”; and so it was!
Happily, Avie recuperated shortly after the awards ceremony ended, but was significantly less impressed with his certificate than I had been. I guess he needed that cocktail!
The following morning we finished up the last bits of packing and placed our bags outside our cabin for pickup and transport to the airport. Ivan would be taking care of checking the bags (a very nice touch) while we went to the Galapagos Interpretation Center, a museum teaching about human exploration, immigration, integration, and its past and continuing effects on these special islands.
We spent about an hour or so exploring the museum (and studying more finches around the buildings). Then we were on our own to walk down the hill to the town of Puerto Baqueriyo Moreno. There were some very nice shops and galleries on the way, and we made a few more purchases before rendezvousing with our airport tranportation.
We had fun looking at the street signs, each different, each having one of the Galapagos species.
We had an uneventful flight back to Quito. On the way back to the San Jorge Lodge, we stopped at a pharmacy to get a splint for one of the women who had fallen and injured her wrist on Española.
At San Jorge we had a final dinner with our Galapagos family, along with a French couple who had just arrived in Ecuador from Switzerland.
On our way back to the room we got our last “creature” of the trip: a very handsome, but sizeable tarantula.
As for sleep – not so much. We had to get up at 3:45 a.m. for our ride to the airport and our early morning flight back to the U.S.
We had set foot on nine of the Islands and seen virtually all of their endemic birds. I think what I experienced will remain with me for the rest of my life.