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Recent Mariner

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Cruise Begins!

Low expectations – Aboard the Isabela II – Daily activities – Haunted ship – A bad spiritual experience – Cruises are great!

My expectations were very low for the first cruise I have taken. Being stuck in a metal can on the high seas with no avenue of escape was not my idea of fun, and with Neena being prone to seasickness both of us were quite apprehensive about our sea voyage. Since one can see certain islands in the Galapagos only by ship we were forced into making a booking for a five day cruise.

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Isabela II

The ship we ended up taking was the Isabela II (wonder what happened to Isabela I?), a 40 passenger luxury yacht that we would not have afforded if it weren’t for the 50% “last-minute” discount. Since our prior experience on overnight passages had been 50 year old ferries, our room seemed nice and spacious with comfortable beds, hot water, and warm linens. The latter were needed to ward off the chill from the a/c running 24/7 to keep everything dry. There was a sun deck where we enjoyed afternoon drinks, a gym that we never used, a jacuzzi, and a boutique where you could buy shit. Elaborately prepared but ultimately mediocre meals were served in a nicely appointed dining room.

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Dawn on board

The ship traveled at night so we could be at a far away island by daybreak. It also gave us the impression of being “out there” as there would only be another ship or two to be seen at the anchorage site. Three zodiacs, each with 50hp motors, took us to and from our myriad daily activities. The days on board were packed with stuff to do but one could opt out if it got too much. Neena and I did everything – how often will we come to the Galapagos? The staff held a daily briefing about what the upcoming activities were and what we needed to wear, bring along, etc. Everything was done with clockwork precision, for example, our snorkeling gear would magically appear on shore just as we got done with the morning walk. I liked the precision, since I fumble around a lot if left on my own.

The cabins were arranged with the even numbered ones on the port side and the odd ones to starboard. Ours was cabin number eight on the port side. Supposedly the even numbered ones have two ghosts haunting them but unfortunately we had no spectral visitors to intrude upon our Dramamine induced slumber. I just love ghost stories and I bet there isn’t a ship at sea that does not have its share of them.

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Such a cutie!

What would a cruise experience be without strange and interesting people? One the the guides was remarkably reserved and it was discovered that it was because they had a very disturbing spiritual experience. A visit to ‘El muro de las lagrimas’ led to a communication with a diseased brother and ever since the guide has been scarred for life, devoid of laughter and happiness. Then there was the creepy man who paid entirely too much attention to the little girls. I stayed away from him. Most others were entirely normal folk like us.

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Penguin and Crab

Turtle Beach

Colorful Crab

So I have found that I rather like this cruise business. There are lots of interesting things to do, every day you see a new locale, and you only unpack and pack once for the whole trip. Where to next? Antarctica? Alaska? Count me in!

For more pictures of the Galapagos Islands click here

3 Responses to “Recent Mariner”

  1. fred says:

    I too was concerned before my first cruise, but as you have discovered, one is neither trapped, nor lacking for stuff to do. I recommend the “last minute” discount, the ships want butts in bunks before they sail. Some of the coolest excursions we have even been on have been trips from a cruise ship (eg: Angel Falls in the Amazon). Sadly our research reveals that Antarctica cruises are in the $15K range per person (minus the last minute discount)!

  2. Neena says:

    Hi Fred
    Yup, Antarctica cruises are expensive, as we have found too, although our guidebook thinks it is from $5K to $8K per person, without last minute deals. Hopefully we can get a similar deal as the Isabela II with 50% off.

  3. fred says:

    Do you have a Antarctica cruise setup yet? We were kind of interested in the Antarctica trip, but thats some serious coin!

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