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Galapagos and a beach side paradise August 5, 2007

Posted by Jason in Animals, Bird Watching, Cruise, culture, Darwin, Ecuador, Environment, Galapagos, Nature, South America, Travel, wilderness.
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28th of July to the 5th of August

After disembarking from the Galapagos Cruise we immediately caught the “ferry” to the eastern side of the island of Isabela. The largest of the Galapagos Islands with a small settlement and the fishing capital. The Island covers around 58% of the overall landmass of the Galapagos Islands and has several active volcanoes.

Cheryl walking along the neach with our beach side retreat in the distance

The “ferry” is in fact a small motor boat that carries around 14 people over the seas between Santa Cruise and Isabela over around 2 1/2 hours. Due to the season, the seas were extremely rough! The boat lurching out of the water at regular intervals before smashing down onto the water again! I was glad I had not eaten lunch yet! To make matter worse there was a woman on the boat who was copiously drunk singing and falling over at every opportunity, screaming with all her might for the whole journey! Eventually she asked to go to the toilet. The driver of the boat slowed and moved away our baggage from a small compartment at the front of the boat where a small (and I mean SMALL!) toilet was situated. Once inside the compartment they closed and locked the door and proceeded towards Isabella! This whole heartedly approved of by all passengers!Half an hour later she was let out looking a little worse for wear.

Eventually we came into port, well a small wooden pier. However, the “captain” of the boat came in too quickly and the boat hit the rocks! Immediately it started taking water on board and there was a scramble to get off the boat and to get our bags! To our disbelief this boat was still in operation 4 days later on our return!!

Our home for 4 days would be a beach house, on the beach itself with the view of the Pacific Ocean and a balcony from which to admire the view!

Jason surveying the enormous volcanic crater from horseback   The view towards the north of the Island from the crater rim      Flamingoes

We spent the next 4 days chilling out. We did horse riding to the Sierra Negra Volcanoe. Through the mists of the Island to the crater rim where the mists dissipated and the view of the second largest crater in the world came into view. We walked around across lava flows to smoking fumaroles and could see a wonderful view across the island to the north toward the other volcanoes and the bleak volcanic landscape.

Chez and Jason on horseback on Isabela Island

Cheryl loved the horse riding, this being one of the few occasions when our guides would allow the horses to trot or Gallop!! I on the other hand found it most painful!!

We took the board walk on the island to see Flamingos, Tortoises, Lava Lizards and of course the Darwin Finches. We also went to a small island off the coast of Isabela where we saw hundreds of Marine Iguanas, some sea Turtles and amazingly White Tipped Reef Sharks swimming within 2 meters of us in a shallow pool off the coast of the island. It was just wonderful.

The rest of the time was spent doing. . . . well. . . . not alot!!

The town(well small village!) of Puerto Villamil is quite nice but incredibly sleepy. Laid back in the most extreme way! Even most of the hostals or hotels do not have signs up saying they are, and siesta appears to happen at any time of the day, or in some cases all day!!

We spent a few hour wiling away our time in Beto´s Bar on the beach drinking cocktails. We were told this was the best bar on the island. We later found out it is basically the only bar on the island!

The second largest volcanic crater in the world An Iguana Crossing!!

After the 4 days we took another tortuous journey on the “ferry” back to Santa Cruise where we visited the darwin Centre again and generally relaxed in town and on the near by beach of Tortuga bay.

In some of the Hotel Bars on the water front you can drink on the decking sharing it with Herons, Sea Lions and Pelicans! The Sea lions can get a little upset if you steel their spot in the sun!!

The local fish market is a wonder to see. The boats come in bringing their catch and they are gutted and sold or prepared for clients there and then. Of course this is not only a place for tourists to have a look. Basically all the Sea Birds and Sea Lions in the area know about the easy pickings! Blue Herons, Lava herons, Sea Lions, Pelicans and Frigate Birds all arrive for a feeding from the scraps! Most amusing to see.

After 7 days more of the Galapagos we were ready to catch the flight back to Quito. Surely a journey and experience we will not have again. A beautiful place!

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