Enjoying Galapagos

Published on 29 February 2024 at 03:41

Galapagos is amazing!

 

Not too many land mammals, nor reptiles or insects for that matter - but the wildlife is amazing when it comes to amphibians, birds, and in the sea.

 

We got off the boat last week, to go on a boat trip (just for a change!)

 

We snorkelled around Kicker Rock, just off the San Cristobal coast, with amazing views of tropical fish, sea turtles, eagle rays, and sharks. Harri saw a large school of Hammerhead Sharks but I must have been looking the wrong way - I only saw one! But I saw a very large reef shark, happily relatively harmless but they certainly look the part! The Eagle Rays and Turtles were amazing. And lots of Blue Footed Boobies - I do love a good Booby!

 

We then sailed overnight to Isabela - perfect timing as I just got up for my second shift to find us in the process of anchoring as we'd arrived earlier than expected. Isabela is lovely, the town is much less developed than San Cristobal (although all the signs are that that will change quickly in the near future) but right now it's fantastic!

 

There are still sea lions here, but nothing like the same numbers, we're not missing the constant barking that you could hear all the time in San Cristobal!

 

But we've got Penguins too now - swimming all round the water taxi on our first trip ashore. And the marine iguanas outnumber the sealions here - you can just walk into the sea off the beach and swim right next to them, so close you touch them if you wanted to. From beneath they look unnervingly like crocodiles when swimming!

 

We've climbed the Sierra Negra volcano which was very impressive - it's still active, having erupted 5 times in the last 70 years, most recently 2018. There's a 10km diameter crater totally flat and pretty barren (the echos across it were truly amazing!), but also great lava flows outside it which we able to explore.

 

And then we got off the boat again for another boat tour! This one was to lava tunnels where lava flows from previous eruptions had reached the sea - spectacular geology and even more spectacular snorkelling! Really close swimming with giant turtles - the main issue wasn't getting close, it was trying to move out of their way if they moved towards you, which was difficult without moving into the next one, there were so many of them.

 

There were stingrays, and seahorses, and sharks too - the latter sheltering from the sun within the lava tunnels. I wasn't too sure about going beneath the water to put my head into a tunnel where the bottom had been disturbed so you couldn't see much, knowing there was a big shark in there!!

 

From the boat we also saw a really big shoal of golden rays, and a squadron of manta rays (yes, apparently that is the correct collective noun for them!). They put on a great display jumping out of the water for us, although at a distance from the boat so we saw more splash than manta ray! But then the whole squadron swam to us, and we saw a couple close to. They looked absolutely enormous but the guide said these were only 3 to 4 metre span - they can grow to double that. That's big!!

 

Unfortunately I seem to have picked up a heavy cold. Not a problem - but it is bizarre taking Lemsip and using a Vicks inhaler whilst sitting around in shorts and 30+ temperatures, just doesn't seem right!

 

We still have another week in Galapagos - on Friday we move on to Santa Cruz which I guess will be different again - we'll then be in the biggest town in Galapagos. 

 

We'll also be starting to think about the next leg of the trip - provisioning and refuelling ready for the longest passage of the whole World ARC circumnavigation.

 

Refuelling is interesting here - all fuel has to be ordered and paid for in advance, and is then delivered to your boat rather than pulling up to a fuel station/berth, which makes it pretty difficult to top the tanks right up ready for the big crossing - lots of swapping of jerry cans between boats is planned to get us all full. It's all in an effort to stop the drug runners who ship drugs from Colombia via Ecuador into power boats that go up the coast to Mexico and the US. To avoid coastguards they go way off the coast and used to use Galapagos as a refuelling point - paying locals handsomely to take fuel out to them. So now all fuel is strictly controlled/rationed and not available for sale to any non- local except by prior arrangement.

 

We then leave 6 March for a crossing of over 3000 miles. So we have another week of wildlife then will be plunged with a bang back into full on sailing! And looking forward to both :-)

 

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Comments

Craig
4 months ago

Wow. It looks amazing. Not sure I would fancy being that close up to sharks but what an experience. Enjoy the rest of your time there and hope the provisioning goes well

Bob
4 months ago

Looks fantastic, you got to see the caldera - all we saw was cloud! Enjoy the wildlife!

Bob