After catching what turned out to be normal sized aircraft (only chartered) operated by Aerogal we flew from Quito to Baltra. The ~1000 km passed quickly (nothing like real food to make the time go).
And landed without problems on this little speck of nothing off the Ecuadorian Coast. Besides all the standard boarding the ship’s drill (which in this case included hanging out in the terminal, processing through immigration, boarding a bus for a
So that is point number one. Unlike any other “cruise ship” on which you might have traveled, this one doesn’t really dock. There isn’t a big pier equipped with easy on/off and tourist stores. Instead there is a small landing place in the harbor where the zodiacs tie up. And I did not watch them toss in the luggage for the trip out and I don’t want to see it on the return either.
After the rest of the view the ship (five minutes) and the life boat drill (complete with life jackets and a demo of how actually to get over the deck fixtures and on to the craft), it was sail away and around Daphne Major and Minor.
And I might as well mention Frigate Birds, the local equivalent of sea gulls which seem to take delight in chasing ships just in case something tasty might show up. Females have white necks/breast, the males a red sac on the neck which can inflate, juveniles more rather than less white.
The whole Galapagos are the product of volcanic activity from a hot spot on the edge of two of tectonic plates.
Daphne Major is one of the oldest and the remains of a volcanic cone. Since these are the result of a hotspot and not eruptions, the shape is a bit different (no blown off tops). It is offshore of Santa Cruz. We were told it is actually an offshoot (parasitic cone) of Santa Cruz. With very steep sides it would be extremely attractive to climbers but is off limits to all tourists. Instead – a telephoto lens and binoculars are in order as the only reasonable alternative for us.
We didn’t land on either island – just did a sail by from a reasonable distance. Daphne Minor with its steep sids is also off limits to tourists (no landing or climbing allowed.)