Friday, August 26, 2011

Our Yacht - the Queen B

Let's pause for a while to review the August posts to this blog. If you joined us in the middle of this "broadcast," Dick and I went to the Galapagos Islands during the first two weeks of August. Since then, I spent a week recovering from a cold caught while traveling (aren't you more likely to catch a cold in an airplane than anywhere else?), and then I spent 6 days on my feet volunteering for Raptor Rehab (it's the KY State Fair and we have a booth with live birds). My feet hurt, and I'm looking forward to a chance to sleep in for a day or two! This is a good time to fondly remember our time on the Queen Beatriz.  Before we even made it out of the harbor in Puerto Ayora, the water looked like this. I knew immediately that I would soon be seasick, but the Queen B took care of me.
Wildside Nature Tours booked us on the Queen Beatriz, with, and it was a marvelous choice! Click on the link for the Queen to see more details about the ship itself. The Queen is a large catamaran, which means the cabins are roomy and luxurious.

Our cabin had more space than the one on the Princess cruise liner going to Alaska. Before we came back from breakfast in the morning, the steward had come in to make the bed and put out fresh towels. A crew of 8 operated the ship, cooked and cleaned for 16 of us and our wonderful park ranger Hanzel.
Pangas are our mode of transport when not on the Queen. We rode around Black Sea Turtle Cove looking for eagle rays and sea turtles of all kinds. "Panga" is simply Spanish for dinghy.

Of course, we were apprehensive at first about getting into and out of the panga without an unexpected swim in the cold ocean, along with camera and binoculars!  There are two kinds of expeditions in the islands - one with a "dry" landing and one with a "wet" landing. In the dry landing, the driver revs the motor up to keep the nose firmly against the targeted landing area, or the steps at the back of the ship when returning.
Then Hanzel, or another who is experienced in this, grabs your hand to assist you over the rounded nose of the panga. They didn't lose one of us on the entire trip! In a short time we came to trust the crew and easily moved in and out of the panga several times a day. In a wet landing, you guessed it, we simply step directly into shallow water at the beach over the side of the panga.

The food was gourmet, and served with elegance. Buffets greeted us at breakfast and lunch, with a snack and juice when returning from the morning's adventure. In the evening, we enjoyed linen tablecloths and more silverware than I knew how to use!  Despite dessert every day, we didn't put on a pound all week. Boy, wish I could do that at home!

We looked forward to the fruit sculptures created by the galley staff at lunch every day. Not edible, but very imaginative.

When time to motor to a new island, the crew raised the pangas out of the water, securely fastening them at the back of the ship.

Occasionally the crew couldn't resist taking us beneath the boat!  I was too busy ducking to take any photos, but Kevin was braver and got this shot.

At the end of the day, we gathered on the middle deck for drinks and to enjoy the beautiful sunset. The captain always kept the ship steady while we ate dinner, and warned us if things would get choppy traveling to the next destination, which it did several times. By then I was an old salt (thanks to my transderm patch) and slept despite the rocking of our bed. In fact, it took about four days back ashore for the ground to stop rocking!
We've been home as long as we were gone now, but I'll always remember this view and our trip on the Queen Beatriz.

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