Added 10 Nov 2013

We leave the Hilton Hotel in Guayaquil this morning and fly to the Galapagos Islands! Richard sets off to the airport early with all the luggage to complete the Galapagos National Park procedures and get everyone checked in for our flight. Dawn and guests follow later, simply picking up their boarding cards and proceeding straight through to the departure lounge. That's what we like .... travel made less stressful!

Our Aerogal flight takes off pretty much on time. The aircraft is new and despite the short 90 minutes flight duration we are served a light snack and can watch a short film or TV show on our individual TV screens. Very posh. We are soon descending to the Galapags Island of San Cristobal where we complete entry formalities and ar emet by our three guides: Antonio, Giancarlo and Jonathan. Two local buses transfer us to the quayside and we get fitted for the first time with our Zodiac life jackets. Within a few minutes we are aboard the National Geographic Islander being greeted by the hotel manager Carla and getting settled into our comfortable cabins. A welcome meeting and safety briefing follow, with a buffet lunch soon afterwards.

Time to unpack and take a siesta before our expedition leader, Dr Lynn Fowler gives a briefly about park rules. We then disembark for a short zodiac ride and a nice walk along a white sandy beach at a visitor site known as Cerro Brujo (or "wizard hill"). There's even time for a swim.

With everyone back on board by sunset we join the Captain's welcome aboard cocktail party and the expedition team are formally presented to us. We are in very good hands as our week in the Galapagos Islands begins!