September 13, 2008
The only crewman remaining on board fried up some type of meat pastry thing for breakfast. I politely declined and had a cup of coffee with a few Oreo cookies. We got everything off loaded and put away. I said my good-byes. I don't think that I could ever thank Gustavo enough for the experience and the adventure of participating in the Penguin Survey. It was an absolute honor to be with with such hard working, dedicated people.
Gustavo took me to the Hotel Fernandina; he said that it was a nice hotel. The first thing that I did after checking in was to take a nice long hot shower! One thing that I have noticed is that the island did not seem to rock like it does now! I have to get my land legs back under me. After that wonderful hot shower and a change of clothes I walked into town to do some unexpected souvenir shopping and to call home. My family had not expected to hear from me for another day and was happy that I was able to call. It was good to hear their voices. I walked to the Station to say a sad final farewell to Lonesome George and the rest of the Galapagos Tortoises. I realize that I will probably never be here again.
I went back to my hotel for a while, but I could not stay there long. This was my last night in the Galapagos Islands and I wanted to go out and not be in a generic hotel room. I walked back into town one last time to see the now familiar volleyball games, the city dock, the open-air fish market, and to experience the sounds the smells the sites one final time. I took my time with dinner and washed it all down with one last cold bottle of local beer. I was sad that I was leaving the next day, but I was also excited and looking forward to getting home.
As I was walking back to my hotel Porta Ayora threw one last cultural experience at me. Walking down the main street with Police escort was a procession of about 50-60 people. At the front of the procession was a priest with alter boys and a person carrying a large cross with Jesus on it. There was a car at the rear of the procession with a loudspeaker mounted to it that was blaring out music. Even though I had my camera I did not take a picture. I did not want to intrude on their ceremony and was content to watch it pass by.
Back at the hotel I found it surprisingly difficult to get to sleep. I actually missed the rocking from the Queen Mabel!