We've been wanting to go to the Galapagos since family and friends have told us how spectacular it is. So this January all four of us went down there, sailing on the good ship MC Queen of Galapagos. We all met at Miami airport from our respective home cities, then flew in to Quito, spending a day there before flying out to the islands - this was our buffer against snowstorms in the northeast.

We had seven nights aboard the very luxurious boat, taking several excursions on and around the islands each day. Enjoyed the enormous variety of wildlife there as well as the scenery. We were very fortunate to have a boat full of very nice and interesting people, some of whom left us at the mid-point to be replaced by equally nice folks. Meals were great, guide was great, and special thanks to the panga drivers who took us everywhere and always worked hard to make our lives easy.

Departure was again through Quito, with an overnight there, then back through Miami, which was the only downside to the whole experience. Three hours in Miami airport, going through immigration and customs, then re-checking bags and clearing security yet again can erase three days of relaxation from the trip.

Lots of other folks took pictures and have shared some of them. See OPP (Other People's Pictures).

Camera Notes

My underwater camera was an Olympus Stylus 1030SW. Sadly, the display died on day 2, but the camera continued to be able to shoot, so it truly became a "point-and-shoot" camera. Still got a number of good shots out of it, so I cannot gripe too loudly. By the time we got home, the camera had died the rest of the way, but photos were saved!

The other camera is a Casio EX-FH20. This is a mega-zoom camera that has the major distinction of being able to shoot bursts of 40 frames in a second. Not only that, but you can have it start recording and discarding frames, then retain some number of them when you fully depress the shutter release. This has the effect of "shooting into the past", in that you can, for example, see the dolphin breech, then - click - you get the half-second before he did that as well as the half-second after. It's really quite amazing. These frame sequences can be used as stills, or assembled into short animations, as I have done here. Downside of this camera is that the image quality is not as good as some other cameras in its class (not to mention nowhere near a DSLR), and this is particularly true at higher ISOs, so I force the ISO to stay at 100 and carry a tripod (or monopod this trip) to help in low-light situations.

[still coming are links to movies and animations on youtube, not yet posted]

Copyright (c) 2011, Ben Littauer, all rights reserved