Animals galore in the Galapagos

I had just nodded off when Glen woke me up, startled by a cockroach that had fallen out of his hair. It got flicked off the bed and I went back to sleep, only to be woken up shortly after because a cockroach was now on my pillow.

Glen leapt up to turn the lights off, at which point I flicked the cockroach onto the floor. This annoyed Glen because he wanted to catch it and put it outside. Luckily it hadn’t gone far and he could do as he wanted. I went back to sleep.

We had breakfast at the hotel. First we had strawberry yoghurt with cornflakes. Together. It reminded me of the icecream my grandfather used to eat and the wafers that came with it. Then we had eggs and bread and cheese.

We then walked into town and to the tour booking place to wait. This morning we went on the bay tour. A guide collected us at 9, took us to the dock, left us, brought over another guide who then left us for about ten minutes. Eventually we were ready to go.

There were seven other tourists on the boat, all of whom spoke Spanish. Luckily one of the guys spoke English and translated the important things for us. We went out across the bay, saw a masked cormorant bobbing around on the water, and then stopped next to a small rocky island to look a sunbathing sea lions.

After we’d gawped, we then went to another island (or perhaps it was all part of Santa Cruz). Here we saw just about everything. Marine iguanas, blue footed bobbies, sea lions, crabs – and then a whole lot more underwater as we went snorkeling.

I don’t think I’ve been snorkeling since I was 11 and went with my cousin to Penguin island on school holidays.

We saw so many fish, different colours, shapes and sizes. Giant schools of them too. A sea lion swam near me at one point and I screamed (I’m a little nervous about the ocean). Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly) it didn’t come near me again.

The real highlight was the two sea turtles we saw. One of them was huge and white and looked so old. The other was smaller and younger. Both were a sight to behold.

We swam around for a while (it was here that Glen and I got really sunburnt on our backs) before getting back on the boat and going to Las Grietas.

We docked next to a building owned by Italy (looks like an embassy but an incredibly inconvenient location if you actually need them). A sea lion swam around the jetty and a marine iguana sunned itself on the dock.

We walked through a cactus forest up to Las Grietas which is a volcanic fissure. We went swimming in the little grotto. It was cooler than where we’d been but was a magical location.

After getting back on the boat, we then docked elsewhere. Three sea lions basked on the end of the dock, unperturbed by our presence. We then saw Sally Lightfoot Crabs (over the moon about this). We walked past the Tunnel of Love, then over to the Canal of Sharks (but didn’t see any). Then it wa through the cacti forest to the other side of whichever island we were on to see loads of Sally Lightfoot Crabs and scores of marine iguanas sunning themselves on the shore.

That’s what’s so amazing about this place, that the unique and marvelous wildlife are so unconcerned with your presence. While they’re not going to walk over you, they’re not running away either.

We then got back on the boat and headed back to Puero Ayora. I was over the moon with all we’d seen and in such a short space of time too. Galápagos tortoises are really the only must-see left. Everything else will be a bonus.

We had lunch in town then went back to the dock with our luggage. After a bit of a wait, we boarded a water taxi for 50c each, which took us to Gaby, the boat that would take us to Isabela.

The boat was full. We were sitting right inside it so air flow was limited. This was a bit worrying as the boat ride was two hours long across “rough” seas. The guide book had warned about the crossing and to be prepared if you get sea sick. I didn’t think it would be THAT bad.

Two hours of mind control! Thank god I passed out at one stage. It was so rocky and the panic didn’t help. The panic that there is nothing you can do to stop feeling that bad. It’s a miracle neither of us were sick. I’m highly tempted to book a flight back to Santa Cruz, rather than do that crossing again.

After landing and paying the $5 tourist landing fee, a guy picked us up and took us to our hotel, Coral Blanco. Puerto Veuyamil isn’t as developed as Puerto Ayora. There are also fewer people living on the island. Still, I think I prefer it. It’s a bit more like “island living”.

The woman at the hotel gave us the run down of our tours for tomorrow. Six hour hike to the volcano crater. Two hours of snorkeling (with sharks I think) in the afternoon. We’re also going to stay here an extra day to do a few more things and then take an afternoon ferry back (much more civilized than a 6am boat ride).

After dumping our stuff in our room, the woman took us for a drive to show us the paths to a couple of sights, and then stopped at a lagoon to look at flamingoes.

They’re such amazing birds. Sadly there are only about 350 on the whole archipelago and their numbers are going down. All due to the usual problems of course.

We rested in our rooms for a while, discovering just how sunburnt we are (very!). Then we walked to the restaurant (El Faro) where we have vouchers for dinner and breakfast (and dinner again).

Simple and tasty food. The night is on the cool side of warm and I am so ready for bed.

What an amazing day!

(Photos and videos once we’re back in Toronto.)

One thought on “Animals galore in the Galapagos

  1. “Blue-footed bobbies,” eh? London policemen must be sick of washing their tootsies constantly, owing to the lack of fast dye in their uniforms . . .


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