Notes from the Galapagos: El Nino, Photography & My Mistakes

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Notes from the Galapagos: El Nino, Photography & My Mistakes

Postby jmclatchie » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:49 am

I just came back from a week in the Galapagos aboard the Pelikano, G1. I'd questioned the Wateringhole about El Nino before I went so I thought I'd report back. The rest is just some things I thought other travellers would appreciate.

2010 is El Nino Year
I expected more rain but only had half a day of rain in seven days.
There had been a lot of rain recently and the land was green.
I saw no sea lion carcasses.
There was no discussion about El Nino. It was a non-issue.

Learn from My Mistakes
Scapolamine patches don't stay on with the sweating, the snorkeling and the showers. Use pills instead.
Do use socks with fins. Yes, you will look silly. But after two days, your sockless tourmates will have fin blisters.
You'd think we'd know better, but six out of six women burned their butts where their bikini bottoms didn't cover them while they were snorkeling. That leads to days of trying to scratch and hoping no one notices. Sunscreen is one way to go, but you'll be reapplying every few hours. Another way is to wear board shorts.

Galapagos Photography Notes
Bring more lens cleaners than you think you'll need. You'll need them and so will your tourmates.
There are no night trips to any islands so don't you can't take photos of star trails.
There's no reason to bring a tripod.
When flying from Quito (via Guayaquil) to Baltra, try to get a seat on the left hand side of the plane. You'll see more of the Avenue of Volcanoes and the plane banks to the left when landing in Baltra.
Flying back, our flight from Guayaquil to Quito had festival seating. If you missed the 'Avenue of Volcanoes' heading to the Galapagos, try to sit on the right hand side for this section.
Remove circular polarizing lenses from your lenses if you're taking pictures from inside the plane. The windows appear to already be polarized. Too much polarizing just induces hypnotic colours at the edges of the image.
The humidity could be a problem. Bring silica and a ziploc bag and dry out your camera each night.
Flycatchers like big SLR zoom lenses. They fly at them. Be ready.
"The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page."
-St. Augustine
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Re: Notes from the Galapagos: El Nino, Photography & My Mistakes

Postby JaliscoJudy » Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:44 am

Thanks for taking the time to post. Very helpful!

I am headed to Galapagos in just a few weeks now and I'm starting to think about what to take. What did you have in the way of rain gear? I'm thinking a cheap poncho. What about a windbreaker? Did you need one? Thanks!
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Re: Notes from the Galapagos: El Nino, Photography & My Mistakes

Postby jmclatchie » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:54 pm

I'm from Canada and I found the Galapagos really warm.
I only wore a long sleeved shirt once and that was only to block the sun. I never worn my fleece jacket, but I did use it to supplement the pillow on the boat.
As for a rain jacket, a cheap poncho is sufficient. In fact, if I wasn't trying to keep my SLR dry, I would have just gotten wet and enjoyed feeling cooler.
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Re: Notes from the Galapagos: El Nino, Photography & My Mistakes

Postby owena » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:11 pm

Thanks for the post jmclatchie. We leave for our trip in a couple of weeks and your report is both reassuring and very helpful (we have just added lens cleaners to our shopping list!). It sounds as though you had an amazing trip - what were your highlights?
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Re: Notes from the Galapagos: El Nino, Photography & My Mistakes

Postby jmclatchie » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:34 pm

owena wrote:what were your highlights?


Snorkeling with the sea lions - exhilarating
Snorkeling with turtles - humbling; they're so graceful
South Plaza - amazing opuntia forest, so many land and marine iguanas that you have to be careful not to step on them, iguanas and sea lions asleep in the shade under opuntias
North Seymour - frigates with their red ballons expanded, blue-footed boobies galore, a gorgeous surfer's wave
Giant Tortoise Reserve on Santa Cruz Island - fun to walk in the (unexpected) mud! (Don't worry; they provide gumboots)
Swimming in a huge lava cave on Floreana - thrilling - it's like we were little kids again (bring a water proof flashlight if you have one)

Thanks for asking... it's fun just to think about my trip again!
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