See the wheelchair on top? The boat captain and Kasenya's father thought it would be ok for her to ride up there!
Its pretty much impossible to visit the Galapagos Islands without eventually finding yourself on a boat. They are a group of Islands a 1,000 kms from the mainland of Ecuador. In fact many people spend almost their entire trip on a boat, travelling from one island to another. We decided to do a “land based” tour because of Kasenya’s wheelchair. But it also turned out to be a good choice because Laverne is prone to seasickness. But “land-based” doesn’t mean we avoided boats all together.
We had our first boat ride almost immediately. The airport is on the Island of Baltra but the main town where were staying is on the Island of Santa Cruz. You have to take a short ferry ride across a strait to get to get between the two.
We arrived at the ferry by bus. The ferry driver wanted to load Kasenya (still in her wheelchair) onto the roof of the boat with the luggage. There were no sides to it. We yanked her out of her wheelchair before that could happen! We had just gotten off a plane and hadn’t applied sunscreen yet. We didn’t want her roasting in the sun or falling into the ocean.
After a couple of nights on Santa Cruz, we decided to go the Isabela Island for three nights. Isabella is a much less visited place and some of the animals are easier to see there. It is one of the places where you can see the rare Galapagos penguin.
But the only way to get there is by boat. The video above shows how Kasenya got onto that particular boat. The ride was extremely rough, but the ride there was worse. We had a cross wind and a couple of times, we thought we were going over. We kept only one strap holding Kasenya in so we could ditch the wheelchair if we capsized.
A couple of times we had to transfer in the harbour from the boat to a water taxi in order to get to the dock because of low tide. Another nerve wracking experience!
The last boat trip was between the main Island of Santa Cruz going to our last stop in the Galapagos, San Cristobal Island where we will fly back to the mainland from. Again the seas were rough as they are this time of year. But the boat was bigger with more engines which made us feel more confident. Along with the fact that they actually handed a life jacket to each person. (On the previous boat none were in sight). And they had a dispenser for little black puke bags. Hmmmm .... should life jackets and puke bags make you feel more confident or less?
This bigger boat (the Areciffe) flew across the ocean, literally. We had seen others like her. Sometimes she would come up one side of a wave and we definitely caught some air coming down the other side. For a moment you would feel weightless like when you hit the highest point on a swing. Then she would land hard on the other side, often jolting Kasenya’s wheelchair a few inches. When we finally got off the boat Kasenya had a headache and proceeded to throw up. Boats were definitely one of the most memorable but not enjoyable parts of our visit to the Galapagos Islands.