Saturday, January 20, 2018

Santa Cruz -- the end of the Galapagos

(I usually don't post on the weekends, but I've been determined to get the end of our trip recorded before the weekend is through...since I still have stuff from November to pull together for crying out loud, and I want to get all caught up before Max gets home. So here we go!)

We woke up early our very last full day and took a two-hour boat ride to Santa Cruz island...which is really the main island of the Galapagos.

We pulled in to the little port town of Puerto Ayora and immediately fell in love with it. 

We only had one day in Santa Cruz so we hustled to check into our hotel, changed into our swimsuits and headed straight to Tortuga Bay (second on my list of most-wanted-to-see-things right up there with Kicker Rock).

There is a LONG pathway to this beach.  They weren't joking when they told us it would take 40 minutes to walk it...closer to an hour with Lucy in tow.

But it was all paved and nice... and although Lucy complained a little, those good sisters of her distracted her with all kinds of subjects to take her mind off all the walking.

Plus there were some pretty unique plants to look at along the way. 



It was well worth that walk because when we finally arrived it almost took my breath away it was so beautiful.  And the weather was the perfect compliment to bring out all those different hues of blue.
Plus we had lots of iguana friends to keep us company.



(looks like someone took a chunk out of that poor guy up there...)

Lucy and I walked further so we could rent a little kayak and see the marine life our friends had raved about there.  I figured maybe she could see it better perched in a boat right above than trying to look through a scuba mask.  I saw a huge Galapagos shark, a turtle popped up in front of us twice, and a gigantic sting ray floated around our kayak a couple times.  But Lucy saw none of it, no matter how earnestly I tried to describe and point her eyes in the right direction.  That was hard on me.  
But Lucy was pleased as punch with the pelican she saw land in front of us....see it flying in front of us below? 
So happy that she was happy.

Dave and the girls gloried in the beach while we were kayaking, I loved seeing this little scene of those four sprawled out in that beauty when we went back to find them.
 ...with their iguana friend lounging over to the left...see him?






The long walk back to the hotel wasn’t quite as pleasant, and took a lot more cajoling and enthusiasm trying to spill over to that girl of ours.  And it took a LONG time.

A couple taxis were ready for us at our hotel when we finally arrived, and took us to the highlands to visit a huge tortoise farm.

The road to get there was so beautiful to me:
Our taxi driver slowed down and wanted me to take a picture of this sign:
...which I thought was very sweet of him.


We went through a couple lava tunnels before meeting up with the giant tortoises (Lucy just did the first easy tunnel):





We became mesmerized by those huge creatures.  The breathy, hollow sounds they make when their heads and legs start to retreat inside their massive shells,  their s-l-o-w movements to get such a short distance, their tiny eyes and grass-munching mouths were all so fascinating to me.








One of the taxis offered to take us to the twin craters that were not too much further up the road and Elle, Claire and I took him up on his offer while the others headed back. 

Those craters were beautiful although this is the only picture I snapped:
Well, and this one, but it only shows my two lovely dates, not the two lovely craters...
I had a pretty beautiful epiphany reading the little sign about how those craters were created:

That's kind of hard to read so I'll type out what it said:  “This spectacular landscape was formed because under the ground you are stepping on, magma flowed until the volcanic activity[of the island] came to an end.  When the liquid rock cooled down and contracted, unstable zones were left.  As time went by they collapsed and built the holes or craters you are looking at.

“Even apparent destruction can create beauty.”

That last line made me tear right up on the spot.  It was as if Heavenly Father were talking to me right at that moment, telling me all that wrestling in my heart about Lucy...and all Dave's worry would work out and create beauty.  We just have to be patient.  And also be on the lookout to recognize the beauty that would be created from the collapsing of unstable magma flowing through me and through Dave.

I hope I can remember that feeling of light and hope coming over me as I read that standing there in the slight breeze overlooking that "apparent-destruction-turned-beautiful."

That night we walked through the open-air weekend restaurant Santa Cruz scene...
 ...to meet back up with our friends for our last dinner all together.
We were all talking a mile a minute to catch up and exchange adventure stories from the last couple days.
By this time Lucy was pretty tuckered out :)

The next morning we packed up and headed to the Baltra airport...which was an adventure in and of itself: a 40-minute taxi ride, all bottlenecked at a spot where you have to take a boat for two minutes across a little channel…throwing the luggage precariously on the top of the boat and then throwing it off again on the other side, crossing fingers nothing fell in, then a bus ride through deserted scrub to the airport.

We ate Magna ice cream bars and a giant piece of chocolate cake (of all things) for breakfast since we were starving and those were the options.
We were going to take selfies every leg of the trip home but we only got the first leg...with Dave and Elle looking quite frightened :)
We had a long layover in Quito before our flight back to the states...which didn't take off until 1:30am.  Luckily there was this nice hotel lounge right at the airport we were able to lounge out in.

Lucy found a great spot to crash until our next flight:
 Let's take a closer look at that girl:
There were some tricky times for sure for this girl...and for us as her parents (and sisters) on this trip. So many emotions swirling around inside me.

But as I watched her sleep on that chair that night with all those memories floating through my heart I just had such an incredible wave of gratitude for her and that I get to be her mother. 

And that we got to create those memories together....as a family.  For her pluckiness to work to keep up...the miles she walked before we left to get ready, the pushing through the tough stuff, the delight playing card games together and the willingness (after a little cajoling sometimes) to try so many new things.  And for everyone else for working together as a team.

I got so overwhelmed with gratitude for all these travel companions of mine...
....and also the one who's been missing for a couple years who's coming to join us in the adventures in just 11 days from now.

As I talked about in the last post, as Lucy's eyesight continues to diminish we will keep adjusting the balance of things, and sometimes it's heart-wrenching to watch that happen.  Our family dynamics will change a bit here and there.  But man alive am I ever grateful we get to figure it out together...me and those adventure partners of mine...all six of them. 

Love them forever.

8 comments:

  1. This brings back so many great memories of that amazing place for me! So glad you guys got to experience it. I love you all so much!

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  2. Since my toddler haa given up sleeping without someone next to him (hopefully it's due to his sickness and not a new phase!), blog all weekend long!

    Ice cream and chocolate cake sound like the perfect breakfast combination to me!

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  3. "But Lucy saw none of it, no matter how earnestly I tried to describe and point her eyes in the right direction. That was hard on ME"

    I bet it was a little sad and hard on Lucy too. I understand how you feel about taking her everywhere and letting her see things before her sight is gone. It's heartbreaking for your whole family.

    I do think though, that since now you know that she really can't see the sights anymore, that maybe you should not force her to hike, climb, walk etc when it is obviously so hard for her now.

    Maybe it is just making it more obvious to her that it's happening. I think she is already upset enough about it.

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    Replies
    1. It's not like Lucy didn't see anything. It were the animals in the water. She saw the bird.Also, as horrible as it is, she is losing one sense, but still has the others to experience the world. As obvious it is to everybody (including Lucy's PARENTS), that things need to change, it's not like Lucy has to be at home all the time.

      Shawni, I remember how you have wished for a bookworm all these years. And I think it's a good thing that Lucy is the one. Yes, she still will have the other senses to explore the world. But she will also be able to explore so many worlds while reading!

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  4. How did Lucy process the adults living in care? Equador is probably not set up for people to live independently with needs. We have ADA and a social security system and Braille books easily obtainable and recordings and devices and regulations about elevator buttons and curbs and assist animals.. Were there people with vision issues there? Does Lucy know any kids adults in the states with vision loss, living independently or semi independently? She needs to know what her world here will be like.

    This is happening to Lucy but the entire family is effected and they are all going to have feelings. It’s Shawni’s blog, not Lucy’s. So we are going to read about how Shawni feels.

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  5. I just wanted to comment quick bc I was looking at your pictures and thinking how cute your girls are - but then realized that what made them SO beautiful to me was seeing them with Lucy. There are billions of cute girls in this world but a compassionate, kind, loving heart is what makes them actually beautiful. Right after I was thinking this I read the quote about apparent destruction creating beauty and I felt it was so fitting for what I had just seen in your girls. A good lesson for me as I see my 4 sons facing trials and sometimes struggle to cope with it all - maybe the destruction of what I think life should be like for them is the very thing that will make them strong (beautiful) men. Parenting is so amazingly heart wrenching at times. But I guess that's a side of deep love we have to experience.

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