Lodgey and Life on the Road. Stories from South America.

18 August 2011

Galapagos Islands: Isla Floreana and Isla Isabela

Day 4: Isla Floreana

Our morning excursion is to Punta Cormoran. The beach there has green, grey sand and a lagoon with one pink flamingo. 

Just past the lagoon is a lovely beach and Darwin shows us how to spot (and not step on!) stingrays disguised in the sandy, shallow waters. It freaks me out but there are plenty of punters willing to wait for the stingrays to brush across their feet.

Meg and I snorkel with Darwin and there’s not a huge amount to see until he spots some dolphins nearby. We head towards them on the boat and slip into the water. Right below us is the pod of dolphins, swirling in the water in pairs like yin and yang, clearly curious about us. They are so close it takes my breath away. Under the water I can hear their squeaky dolphin talk. Eventually they dart away and Meg and I stare into each other’s masks speechless and emotional.

Back on the boat, we’re trying to tell everyone what we’ve seen but we are talking so fast they have no idea what we are saying.

I’m buzzing.

Our afternoon excursion takes us to Post Office Bay where there is a longstanding tradition of leaving post cards, either for people you know are visiting Galapagos or for yourself. When the next visitors arrive they can deliver any addressed to their home town. I leave one for my darling friends, Liz and Gav, who are due to pass through in a few months’ time. (Incidentally, when they did arrive the post card was gone. Booo!)

That night as I’m reading in bed, the engines suddenly stop and there is shouting from the deck. I peer through my porthole to see the crew frantically lowering a panga into the water with Darwin in his boxer shorts scrambling into snorkelling gear. We have sailed over the top of a two kilometre illegal long line and it is caught around the motor. Darwin holds his breath for up to three minutes at a time, diving under the boat to cut the motor free. Eventually they pull the line in. It is a brand new line because, amazingly, there is nothing on it.

Day 5: Isle Isabela and Punta Moreno

The island shaped like a seahorse is Isabela Island. It is the largest and the youngest of the Galapagos Islands.

I wake up super early and head out onto the deck. The sky is pink and we are surrounded by volcanos. Not far from the yacht is an enormous flock of blue-footed boobies diving en masse into the surf.

Our excursion takes us onto the lake of solid lava that flowed from the Alcedo volcano.

We walk across a massive lava highway to a small lagoon filled with schools of beautiful fish and four reef sharks weaving in and out of the caves.

Our next stop is a bay where there are hundreds of water iguanas paddling furiously through the clear water. Solid black lava, clear blue water and these black water iguanas swimming with tortoises and sea lions is an incredible sight.

Our afternoon excursion is a snorkel in 15 degree water. I’m rewarded with a swim next a giant tortoise and two seahorses – apparently an unusual sight. 

We finish the day with a sunset paddle through the mangroves in Elizabeth Bay where we see hundreds and hundreds of tortoises. But after an hour of cruising, we are all sun-kissed and weary, and Jurgen the German yells out ‘right, time for beers’. Within minutes we are back on board watching the sun disappear behind the volcano to the slurping of beer.