Volcanos and penguins in the Galápagos Islands

Up before the alarm. Showered and dressed for our big day of adventures. But first, breakfast, which consisted of fruit, eggs and bread. We then waited at the restaurant for the bus/taxi/death trap to pick us up. We were each given a lunch pack, which contained a ham and cheese roll, some crackers, an apple and a juice box.

There were 16 people in our group. We were driven out about thirty minutes north to a spot where we unloaded and then began our walk up to Sierra Negra Volcano. The first part of the walk was quite easy. We walked along the muddy track, surrounded by a forest of ferns. It also rained on us. I didn’t have a rain jacket but I did have an umbrella. The rain didn’t last long and sometimes it was much nicer to get wet.

We were also walking through clouds, which obstructed the view of the Sierra Negra crater, which we’d come to see. The crater is the second largest in the world and the world’s largest active volcano crater.

At one of the stops to check out the view, the clouds cleared a bit and we could see done to the black lava rocks below.

Once we’d reached the top, we had a bit of a walk down and then into a completely different landscape. We were in cooled lava fields, the place very rocky and open to the sky. There were a few cacti and not much else (if you don’t include the wasps).

We checked out the view, walked around a bit more and then began our walk back to the start. The first part was a steep uphill which nearly killed us but then the walk down, back through fern forest, was easy. You just had to keep walking. I was very glad we got back to the beginning, ending our 16km walk.

Back in Puerto Veuyamil, we quickly changed into our swimming gear and then jumped in the taxi/coach to be taken on the Los Tintereras Bay tour, Tintereras means sharks, however, the tour included so many other animals (and unfortunately no sharks).

We all crammed onto one of those little boats that zoom around the bay. The guide was excellent, talking in both English and Spanish. Our first stop: boobies and penguins.

I didn’t think we’d actually get to see Galápagos penguins as I thought they only lived on Fernandina, which is to the west of Isabela, but there they were in the bay. Most northern species of penguins, only ones found in the northern hemisphere, and the second smallest.

We also saw more Blue-footed boobies, and sea turtles and seals. We eventually settled on a spot and went snorkelling. The sea was much rougher today and we didn’t see as many fish species this time. I also missed out on swimming with a penguin but did get to see another green sea turtle, which was awesome.

Back in the boat, we got off on one of the small islands and had a walk around, seeing so many marine iguanas. At one point they practically blocked the path so we had to skirt around them. They’re all sort of just plonked.

We saw plenty more as we went around the islet, including juvenile ones as well. There were also plenty of Sally lightfoot crabs, and we even held one of their discarded exoskeletons.

Back on the boat and we stopped for a minute next to another boat that had sea lions sleeping on it. These sea lions are everywhere (and I got close to one back on shore, though I had to quickly retreat).

The only downside about the boat tour was Glen feeling terrible by the end of it. He really isn’t coping with the boat side of things. I’m going to ask tomorrow if we can get a flight back to Santa Cruz, rather than take the boat. Fingers crossed there are places available.

Tomorrow we are checking out the lava tunnels and maybe seeing Galapagos Tortoises (finally). Can’t believe how much we’ve seen in just a couple of days.

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