The Real Galapagos Day One
Trip Start Dec 29, 2012
53Trip End Aug 15, 2013
After viewing the tortoises we had a few queso empanadas at the little restaurant. Then we hopped back onto our bus and rode the rest of the way to the harbour. We brought our luggage onto the boat and then rode back to the little town to get a few supplies. We explored the harbour front and bought a few t-shirts. Who could resist a shirt that states "I love boobies"? Back aboard the boat we had a passenger meeting, met the crew and then had dinner. During the middle of the night the catamaran carried us to Isla Isabela.
Our first excursion was to a little island that was covered with marine iguanas. Eventually we came to realize that most of the lava covered coasts we were to explore were infested with marine iguanas that are endemic to the Galapagos Islands.
The black Lava rocks on the beach are frequented by large (2-3 ft), disgusting clumsy Lizards. They are as black as the porous rocks over which they crawl & seek their prey from the Sea. I call them 'imps of darkness'. They assuredly well become the land they inhabit.
Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary. London: Cambridge University Press.
It's true too. They are not the cutest creature on the planet. And sometimes they were so piled on top of one another, you could barely see any lava rock on the shorelines. It was also amazing how they swim with their tails! They are quite fast skimming across the surface. We also had the chance to see them eating vegetation under water while we snorkelled. They have sharp little teeth to scrape the algae off the rocks and you could even hear them doing it!
On this excursion we also saw our first glimpse of the white tailed sharks. They were little ones that got trapped in a tidal pool when the tide went out. There were some fish and sea turtles in the pool too, but because the sharks eat during the night, the fish would probably keep safe in the pool until the tide came back in.
We returned to the Cormorant where one of our favourite crew members, Daniel, greeted us with drinks and a snack. We took the little panga boats to Isla Isabela to have some beach time.
After lunch we took the panga back to Isla Isabela and a bus brought us to see first flamingos and then to the Tortoise Breeding Centre. We saw Tortoises of different ages along with eggs that were being incubated. Most of the baby tortoise predators are introduced species to the islands, so while park authorities are trying to rid the islands of these introduced species, they are also trying to raise the tortoise population to normal standards. They have recently gotten rid of the goats that were running wild by culling them, but the baby tortoises are in danger of being eaten until they are about five years old which makes them bigger and their shell stronger. So at the centre, the younger tortoises have a mesh top over their enclosure to protect them.
Aiden was stung by a wasp while at the breeding centre, but like the trooper he is, he wanted to walk through the park rather than take the bus. So we went walking back to the town via a boardwalk and saw a few more flamingos on the way. The boys saw a bit of the crew's soccer game while I searched for a wide-brimmed hat. It was interesting to find out that the crews aboard the different ships get together on the islands to play soccer games! We wanted to go watch their next game a few days from now, but snorkelling won out.
After another delicious dinner we crawled exhausted into bed.