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NAVC Amazon Expedition Day #8

Hummingbirds Are Abundant In This Region. There Are Plenty Of Beautiful and Diverse Flowers To Support Them!
June 18, 2011

I walked about the Termas complex in search of coffee about 5 AM, but alas, there was none to be found. I worked on the computer some and then went into the hot pool in front of our room; Diane soon joined me and we had a pleasant steamy soak before getting dressed and heading for the breakfast buffet. We were the first ones in and able to get some great pics of the amazing display. The chef was bringing out bread trays while we waited with our plates. Others soon joined us, including Jeff Kovitz, who shared many images with us from his pre-NAVC Galapagos trip. He’s quite a dynamic guy and offered many to visit his mountain get-away near Banf.

After breakfast Diane and I walked down to the government-run trout farm and made contact with a guard there hoping to set up a 10:30 tour for the group. Di did the best she could with her Spanish, and, I thought things were set up. Our next stop was the Termas Nature Center, where we met a very nice and fluent-in-English local guide named Angel. Despite my initial objection, Di queried him about the trout farm, and he informed us that a tour without his assistance and contacts would be nearly impossible. As it turned out, he was likely right, and he was able to call and speak with the head biologist, Walter Camposano, directly.

After connecting with Angel, we joined Vince for an awesome hike around and over the beautiful white-water Papallacta River. We saw some amazing plants, a few bird species, a rabbit, and a wonderful group of grazing llamas. The hike was definitely a highlight , with a well marked and maintained trail, informational signs on the flora, and plenty of visual and other sensory treats.

He mentioned a tour for just four, and when nine of us showed up (10 with Angel), Walter seemed reluctant to admit us into the barb-wire fence and locked compound. Angel persisted, Walter relented, and we all enjoyed a 90-minute informative and educational tour of the rainbow trout raceways, hatchery, and labs. We thanked both men for their time, tipped Angel (Walter, as a govt. employee, can’t accept tips), and then joined the other NAVC members for lunch at the Spa.

After lunch we checked out, piled onto the bus, and headed for Quito, arriving about 3:30. Once we checked back into the Sebastian Hotel, most of us boarded the bus for a trip to do some shopping before getting ready for the farewell dinner at a nearby upscale restaurant.

Dinner was a lot of fun, with plenty of laughs, live Ecuadorian music, end–of-conference formalities, and goodbyes. I was able to chat with Carol a little and emphasized what a great job she did. She’s extremely experienced in this business and has been to the Galapagos an amazing 49 times!

We returned to the hotel about 10:30 and quickly went to bed since we had to be packed and ready to board the airport bus at 3:45 AM!

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