Then our flight was delayed. Problems with the lavatory. Great, I thought, we're about to be stuffed into a cramped, broken-down regional jet without working plumbing. But when we actually boarded about 30 minutes later it was a brand-spanking-new Airbus A320. There were only about 20 of us on board. I thought that the airline was going to lose a lot of money on this flight, but we made a stop in Guayaquil where we picked up about 100 more, which filled the plane. Still, it was a very pleasant flight. We even got lunch!
I was surprised to learn that the Galapagos are actually inhabited. I thought the entire archipelago was a national park, but it turns out there is a resident population of about 20,000 occupying about 3% of the land spread out over three of the islands. The largest town is Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz island. Ironically, the main airport is not on Santa Cruz, but rather on nearby Baltra island, which is not inhabited. Baltra is separated from Santa Cruz by a narrow channel which can only be crossed by ferry. There is a small port on Baltra, but for reasons I was never entirely clear on our boat was not docked there. In fact, our boat wasn't docked anywhere. It was moored in Puerto Ayora. (As far as I can tell there are no actual docks in the Galapagos. The only way to get back and forth is by zodiac.) So once we landed on Baltra, we had to take a bus to the ferry, then another bus to Puerto Ayora (by way of a detour to look at giant tortoises), then a zodiac to the boat. And our bags had to make the same odyssey of course. It was by far the most complicated set of transfers I have ever made in a single day.
But we made it. And so did our bags.
We visited an internet cafe where we checked on our email for the last time, and took in a beautiful sunset.
Then we headed back to the boat and slept like bricks.