On the plane, I joked to the man sitting next to me that I was the girl you see in the airport and pray, "Please don't let that girl be on my flight, please don't let her be on my flight." Luckily (for him more than me) there was no vomiting on the plane. We had a connecting flight through Guyaquil, and about 20 minutes after take-off on the second flight, there was an announcement that there were technical problems and we were turning around to go back to Guyaquil. Conveniently, I was too sick to be terrified that we were flying with technical problems.
On our subsequent hour delay, the airline kindly gave us vouchers for food which of course completely overwhelmed the one open sandwich place as the entire plane-load of people descended upon them at once. Of course everybody was frustrated, but there was one Russian man who was so unbelievably rude - he was shouting at the man behind the counter in broken English (which is funny, because the man behind the counter only spoke Spanish, not English) about not getting his money's worth from the voucher. Plus he and his wife already had food, and he still pushed through everyone still on line and waiting for food so that he could get more. Jenna and I helped translate into Spanish and after he got his extra pastry (PHEW, one more free dessert was definitely worth all the yelling), he didn't even acknowledge it, or say thank you to the man, and walked away.
So we get a new flight, make it to the Galapagos, and get on a bus to take us to our boat, the Estrella del Mar (star of the sea). Who was the first person we see that is on our boat? You got it. Angry Russian man (with his equally angry wife).
Our boat was our home for the five days. Our basic schedule was: eat breakfast on the boat, go on an excursion on the island, come back to the boat for a snack, go on another excursion, come back for lunch, go on an afternoon excursion, come back for snack, shower, eat dinner, go to sleep.
The boat held 16 people plus the crew members - our guide Enrique, the captain, the cook, the bartender, and others. We were the only Americans on the boat. There were two couples who were a few years older than us (one Swiss couple, the other French and Finnish), a family from Belgium with three sons more or less around our age (the parents of which now live on Lake Hopatcong in NJ - is that weird or what?), two men from London, and the Russian couple.
The boat looked like a cruise ship in miniature. And I mean miniature. The suitcase Jenna and I shared barely even fit into our room, and we couldn't walk past each other in the room - if one person wanted to go to the bathroom, the other person would have to get onto one of the bunk beds to let her pass.
The first day, right after we landed, we immediately went snorkeling which actually made my stomach feel SO much better. We saw some sea lions, sea turtles, a sting ray, and very beautiful fish. I have to admit, I was the biggest spazz in the world. Water kept getting into my goggles, I couldn't tread water very well with the fins, my hair was all over the place, I kept breathing in water. I was a mess. But, fear not, I got the hang of it after a few minutes and could actually enjoy it.
We had no idea how many more animals we would be seeing for the rest of the trip. So that first sea lion we saw was SO COOL. They really are adorable in the water though. They swim right around you, and they're so playful. The giant sea turtle we saw looked exactly like they do in Finding Nemo - just taking his time, swimming along, no rush dude. The sting ray was pretty relaxed too, slowly making his way along the bottom. I have a vague memory of swimming with sting rays with my family when I was younger, but the novelty was definitely still there.