Family Weekend in Oxford

Family

Just spent a really good weekend with Pheeb’s family at the Rose Barn in Oxford which managed to cater for all 12 of us. During the weekend we visited Cogges Manor Farm and had an enjoyable time attempting to avoid getting soaked by the falling rain! We also got a chance to visit Birdland and had some fun looking at the various birds kept there. I think the highlight were the Penguins, who spent a vast amount of time swimming and waiting for their next feed!

Zoo Keeping

Zookeeping

Pheebs and I have just spent a couple of days in Cambridgeshire staying at Springfield House B&B where we enjoyed a couple of nights in the country. After a nightmare of avoiding the M25 we eventually made it to the B&B which we just dumped our clothes and headed to the Dog and Duck for some food and a couple of beers. It was very pleasant having dinner as we were serenaded by a live jazz pianist! The next day we got up early to have breakfast and then headed over to Shepreth Wildlife Park as we were being Zookeepers for the day! Shepreth is better than a lot of zoos offering experience tours in that you don’t have to muck out the animals as part of the tour there which means more time with the animals. Whilst we were on our zookeeper experience we also got filmed by Jake Willers (whose family own the wildlife park) as they wanted some footage of people being zookeepers for their website which was fun. The whole day went far too quickly but I think our favorite highlights of the day were flying birds of prey, feeding the leemers (pheeb’s favorite), feeding the meercats and playing with the otters (my favorite!).

Otters

After we got back, we got cleaned up (after being covered in various animal food) and then headed out to The Crown for food and drink. 😉

Galapagos Islands to Guayaquil to Madrid to London

Was woken up at 5.20 am this morning as were going on our last dinghy ride around Black Turtle Cove and the mangroves. Whilst motoring or paddling we spotted quite a few turtles, a baby white head shark and pelicans. After the ride we headed back to Sagitta for breakfast (Whilst we ere having breakfast we moved from Black Turtle Cve to Batra) and to complete our packing. When the time came to leave we said goodbye to the captain and crew. We were then transferred to land via dinghy and then transported by bus to the airport.

After some last minute shopping in the shops by the airport we chilled for a little while whilst having a drink and chatting to Laura and Rob. After that we went through to the departure lounge and then to our surprise into the VIP lounge with the rest of the Sagitta passengers. Whilst waiting g for our flight we watched a bib documentary on a large TV which was cool as it showed a lot of the places we had already seen. After that we boarded our flight to Guayaquil which took an hour and fifty minutes. Once we arrived at Guayaquil we collected our bags and found a café to chill out in for a couple of hours before checking in (our flight was at 9.10pm and we arrived at 3.30pm) After some chilling out at the café for an hour and a half we headed to the check in desk and waited for an hour in the queue in order to get rid of our bags. We then headed back to the café for a hot chocolate and to charge my phone in preparation for the flight home (10 hours to Madrid) and then (2 hours of London Heathrow). We then went through to the gate and watched as the plane came to the gate and was refuelled and restocked. The flight left late and we were subjected to the long flight but managed to get some sleep as well as some food (if you can call it that) After the flight landed we had rush at Madrid to get to the next gate for our flight to London. We had to queue through passport control and then queue again through security. Evenutally we made it to the gate and flight in time and home to Basingstoke.

Galapagos Islands to Santiago! Bartolome Islands

Got woken up early (6.15am) as breakfast was at 6.30am due to us starting our Island tow slightly sooner than normal. The boat had sailed all evening and anchored at 4am (which woke us up)! After breakfast we got our snorkelling gear ready and prepared ourselves for a wet landing on the beach. We had a walk through some vegetation and then arrived on lava rock pools and view of the sea. We spotted lots of wildlife again including seals, sea lions, iguanas, lava lizards, cuckoos mocking birds etc. We also saw some interesting rock formations and got wet as the tide came in and out of one (aptly named the Ecudorian toilet!). After that we went back to the beach and snorkelled around the rocks. It was certainly better that yesterday. We managed to play with a sea lion, spotted rays, turtles (1) a white tipped reef shark and lots of fish. After that we headed back to the shore and caught the dinghy back to the boat. Once on board we set sail again for a different island and chilled on deck watching the sights around, until lunchtime. After another 3 course lunch we chilled for a little while before getting ready for snorkelling. At the new island we set off via dinghy to the shore to drop the beach dwellers whilst we moved further around the island to be dropped into the sea for our snorkelling expedition. The snorkelling was very good and the visibility much better than some of our previous sessions. We spotted rays, white tipped reef sharks, seals and various fish. After we finished we headed back to the boat to shower and chill out. We also then prepared for our penultimate trip, to climb the pinnacle of Sullivan Bay to enjoy the views, from the summit. After that we headed back to the boat and had a few beers. After that we packed and then joined everyone upstairs for a drink before having dinner. After that we chilled chatting watched a slide show and the video’s shot by Heni (check out hist website -> Galapagos 2000.org). We then chatted to Laura and Bob for a while before going to bed. We have an early start tomorrow and the start of our long voyage home.