The Boston marathon is cancelled!   The NBA teams have stopped their season.    California is closed.    Crazy news we’re getting from our Google friends who have international data on their phones . .    So crazy to be isolated on this small boat in the Galápagos and have no updated news!     It’s a weird feeling .

So we spent the morning on the island of Santa Cruz.     25,000 people live on this island and we were smacked in the face by tourism once again!    The streets were full of shops, ATM machines, the Saturday market – and even craft beer places.    We took a bus through town to the tortoise center.    Here they are doing research on the giant tortoises . .  They are encouraging population of these creatures, who live to be 150 – 180 years of age . .   So they are very careful to keep the different species separated, according to the island where they live . .      It’s pretty fascinating to see how hard they work to keep these creatures safe and growing as a population.      We spent a couple of hours at a tortoise farm where these giant reptiles are literally everywhere.    So fun to see them in the wild!

On the move . . .
D and his new friend
Cute little creatures . . .

There have been incidents of tourists smuggling out the tortoises and the iguanas to take them home and keep them as exotic pets . .   Crazy . . .   If found, these guys end up in prison for a very long time.    Conservation is very important in the Galápagos.

Returning to our home away from home
Pabricio gives us last minute instructions

Then – it was off to the ATM machines to get tip money for the folks who run The Letty.    They far prefer cash to credit card tips . . As they get access to the money right away (instead of in 5 weeks time).   And they will really need the money right now because the Galápagos trips are being cancelled right and left.    The Letty crew thought they had one more week of tourists coming and then nothing for at least 6 weeks . .    But they discovered today that everything is now shut down.    Tough for these people who rely on tip money to make their lives work . . .    😖

David is 26 years old today!      Cheers! 😀

We had birthday cake for dessert today.  David has turned 26 today.   Just about 50 years younger than the Jojo!    Crazy.     So we celebrated David’s birthday, James and Steph’s honeymoon, and Randy and Jills’s 50th anniversary!    All during this week!    Pretty cool . . .   

Packing now for our trip home.   One last seafood dinner in town  . . .   

This dinner was really fun . .   We all did some last minute tee shirt shopping and then settled down to this outside fish restaurant for dinner!   Amazing fish!    We had lobster tails (each tail weighs one pound – is split open and then grilled), fresh yellowfin tuna, perfectly seared in the grill, seafood combos – all just delish!    And then it was back to the boat to get packed up for our trips home.

Lots of consternation!    We all got bits and pieces of emails in town – with less than positive news . . .   Amanda and David were heading to Patagonia to hike the western route in Torres de Paine.   Cancelled.    We tried all of our Patagonia contacts to help them find alternative activities and everyone suggested they not go to Patagonia.   So they decided just to get themselves to Peru and spend their remaining two weeks there . .    Steph and James, who are on their honeymoon, have had several of their tours cancelled and they have been told that they will need to isolate themselves completely for two weeks once they return to Australia!    Not an ideal way to honeymoon . . .   James was trying to put a positive spin on it all – but Steph was struggling . .     All of the rest of us were just hoping to get home!

One last night in Ecuador. We stayed at this awesome place where they have llamas
Doug shared a carrot with one of the llamas. 🤔

So – I am now on the plane to Miami.   Flight left at 5:15 AM.  😳.     Crazy scene at the airport.  Lots of masks and long lines.  Laurie and John were an hour getting through all the lines . . .   The airport in San Cristobal the day before was extremely hot (not much AC here) and Laurie was struggling with dehydration from the previous day .  Not much fun for her.  Another woman collapsed as she stood in line . .   We feel thankful to be on our last leg home.    We drive to Englewood, Florida (with Kim, Sam, and the boys there to greet us!) from the airport – about 4 hours . 

We’re always happy to be home .   It’s been so nice to be wrapped up in our bubble of life on The Letty this past week with nothing to worry about except what we don’t know.    😀.    I struggled a bit with no internet because I could write the blog and get pictures organized – but there was clearly no way to send it out to all of you . . Oh well!    There was, however, lots of conversation going on .   Imagine that!!   No one was staring at their phones!   Imagine that?    I couldn’t get stressed about uploading pictures one at a time and having them take forever!   That was a good thing.   😀.   Lots of enjoying each other, the activities, the animals, and the scenery.    All good this Galápagos trip!    

We were lucky with our group.  The six of us from Maine.   Two other couples our age with physical handicaps but great attitudes.    The family with two great young boys.   And three wonderful young couples.   What could have been better?   We shared meals and conversation with everyone – enjoyed them all!   A troublesome group would not be good in that small space.    We found we only went to our rooms to change, shower, and sleep.   The rest of the time was spent on the upper deck . .

The Letty group . . .

So we return to our other wonderful life – currently in Florida as we try to get Sue’s houses sold and her stuff sorted out.    The Webster’s will share our space for awhile.   Practicing social distancing.     How lucky are we?!   

So I’ll sign off . . .     until the next adventure . .  We are uncertain what the fall will bring so we’ve yet to firm up a destination.    I’m sure we’ll find something fun and active to look forward to . . . Thanks, by the way, for the comments – knowing you are actually reading my blog makes it all worthwhile!   😀🥰.                  Jojo

Goodbye to the Letty.      This could well have been its last voyage as they are retiring it!

 

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