Limo picked us up to drive to Chicago airport - leave it to the Schneck's to crack open the bubbly at 5 in the morning...
Arrival at the Marriott Hotel in Quito, Ecuador. Mom and Dad's room had a balcony. Just out of the picture is one of the snow covered mountains, but it was too hazy to capture a photo.
I had a thing for the lillies. They were ENORMOUS! They also had huge arrangements of roses everywhere in the hotel. Apparently Ecuador is known for their roses and you can get a dozen beautiful roses for $1 (they go up to $5 on Valentine's Day!)
Arrived at port to find they substituted our ship for another - just kidding, but it was scary to see this one sitting among the others!
Our sailboat - The Diamant (often seen as Diamante, but I will stick to the spelling carved on the boat). That's Capt. Max waving to us.
The cabins were hardly spacious - the one I shared with randy was as long as the twin bunk beds, and as wide as the door opened against the bed. I was not even in the room when I took this photo.
Raising the sails - they actually did this more than we were told to expect. Randy got to help out once, I was down in the cabin sleeping through it.
Those are the stairs we used to get in and out of the dinghy on our island excursions. Glad there were always plenty of crew members to grab hands with on the bumpy seas.
Aboard our dinghy, on the way to an island excursion.
Blue Footed Boobies. These birds have very bright blue feet used to attract a suitable mate. They do a proud little dance - just ask Dad for a demonstration.
Blue footed booby nest.
Blue footed booby family.
Nasca Booby with baby.
Nasca Booby (also known as the masked booby).
The Galapagos Islands were formed by volcanoes (similar to Hawaii), but are more arid.
The famous Galapagos Lava Cactus. Don't worry the jokes were rampant at each sighting.
Betty, a fellow passenger on our ship. Too many stories to share than one photo caption can hold.
Albatross - huge birds with enormous wingspans.
Albatross. Although exceptionally clumsy on land, gorgeous in flight.
Red-billed tropic bird? I don't have my wildlife guide in front of me.
Lava gull - the most beautiful seagull in the world.
Frigate birds - too bad our photos from the first day did not turn out. The male birds have a huge red membrane under their beaks that they can puff up with air and beat like a drum. Very recognizable in the air too.
Some sort of mocking bird?
Heron, hanging out in the mangroves.
Flamingo - the bend in the middle of the leg is actually their ankle, their knee is up further towards their body.
Our guide Fausto rescued a hawk that had fallen into the ocean. Although Randy and I agreed this violated the teachings of not interfering with nature, it was a cool sight.
The hawk was surprisingly calm while Fausto tried to dry him off. A hawk's feathers are not waterproof unlike most water birds. Wet feathers do not fly.
Different hawk, there is no way I would attempt to cuddle one of these, injured or not. He looks like he wants to peck my eyes out.
The Darwin Research Center.
A giant tortoise huddle. Not sure if they are fighting over vegetation or planning a mutiny.
Although Mom doesn't like the "fake looking" pool in the background, there was no escaping this was a zoo like setting, research center or not. The tortoise who can stretch his neck the highest gets to be the leader of the group.
Walking around the port on our only day of civilization, after the Darwin Research Center tour. I found the Brahma to be the best tasting beer on the trip. Thankfully the bottles were big enough to convince Dad and Randy to share!
Pelican and Penguin