Reflections and images from my travels

Archive for April, 2018

Santa Cruz/San Cristobal Islands May 17 2014

San Cristóbal (Chatham) is the easternmost island in the Galapagos archipelago, as well as one of the oldest geologically. It is administratively part of San Cristóbal Canton, Ecuador.Its Spanish (and official Ecuadorian) name “San Cristóbal” comes from the patron saint of seafarers, St. Christopher. English speakers increasingly use that name in preference to the traditional English name of Chatham Island, derived from William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham. San Cristobal Island is composed of 3 or 4 fused volcanoes, all extinct. It is home to the oldest permanent settlement of the islands and is the island where Darwin first went ashore in 1835. A small lake called El Junco is the only source of fresh water in the islands. The availability of fresh water is what led to the early settlement of San Cristobal. A penal colony was built on San Cristóbal Island in 1880 for prisoners from mainland Ecuador. This later turned into a military base for Ecuador and and export center for the island’s products including sugar, coffee, cassava, cattle, fish and lime.

San Cristóbal has an area of 558 km2 (215 sq mi) and its highest point rises to 730 metres (2,400 ft). The population is approximately 6000. San Cristóbal is the most populated and fertile island of the archipelago. The capital of the archipelago, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, lies at the south-western tip of the island. Two airlines, AeroGal and TAME, fly directly to San Cristóbal Airport from Guayaquil, Ecuador; flights from Quito stop for passengers in Guayaquil.

This island hosts frigate birds, Galapagos sea lions, Galápagos tortoises, blue and red footed boobies, tropical birds, marine iguanas, dolphins, swallow-tailed seagulls. Its vegetation includes Calandrinia galapagosa, Lecocarpus darwinii, trees such as Lignum vitae, Matazarna. In the waters nearby are sharks, rays, and lobsters.

The largest fresh water lake in the archipelago, Laguna El Junco, is located in a crater in the highlands of San Cristóbal, in the southern half of the island. The lake harbors a large population of birdlife, but reaching the lake requires a short uphill walk. Nearby, La Galapaguera is a breeding station and sanctuary for giant tortoises.

The majority of inhabitants make their living in government, tourism, and artisanal fishing. Also the majority of the residents of San Cristóbal live in the port city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, which is the capital of the Galapagos province. Island tourism sites nearer the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno include the Cerro Tijeretas, a nesting colony for Frigate birds and a statue of Charles Darwin, marking the original site where he first disembarked in the Galapagos Islands during the voyage of the Beagle, on 16 September 1835. La Loberia, a colony of sea lions, lies about ten minutes by bus from the town.

Local boat tours also take visitors to two popular nearby dive sites. “Kicker Rock” (the Spanish name is “León Dormido”) represents the remains of a lava cone, now split in two. “Isla Lobos” (sea lion island) is also a nesting site for blue-footed boobies.

Back in Scotland!

Hello again. It is now July 13, 2014 and I find myself back in Scotland yet again. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a very good thing. This is the third time that I have traveled to this wonderful country. Yesterday was a day of travel with one slight delay in our flight from London, Heathrow to Glasgow, Scotland.  As soon as I got in I went for a run in the rain and then enjoyed a nice meal with my travel mates Ron, Lorraine and Scott.

We are scheduled to meet up with Teresa, Scotty and Andy today to start our tour of the West Coast of Scotland.

Even though I was quite tired last night after all of the traveling and the run and went to sleep early, I was up bright and early this morning at 4 AM. I laid in bed contemplating life and eventually decided the best thing to do was to go for my long run and I left the hotel at 5:30 AM. As opposed to the overcast skies and drizzle yesterday, it was beautiful this morning with some of that magical light that occurs after it has rained. It was a great run passing through Paisley, Renfrewshire and discovering a beautiful rails to trail pathway to run on. I did get a little turned around on the way back which extended my run by about 30 minutes which was not a bad thing. I met up with Ron, Lorraine and Scott for a nice breakfast. Teresa, Scotty and Andy were slightly delayed getting to the hotel to pick us up so here I am starting the initial blog post for our Scotland 2014 tour. Glasgow is hosting the Commonwealth games starting July 23, 2014. It looks like the city is ready for this major sporting event. We, thankfully, will be missing the crowds.

Today we depart Glasgow in Scotty’s and Andy’s vehicles and we will be traveling on to Rothiemurcus, Aviemore and then Stirling Castle. It should be fun. This evening we will be staying at the Hilton Coylumbridge Hotel.  I will try to post some initial pictures for you to enjoy.  Come along and tour Scotland with us!

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