Tuesday 19th, so it turns out that we were going to do Volcan Chico today but as the weather was so nice they decided to do Tintoreres as it would mean we had better visibility. They told us this at 8:15 with the tour leaving at 8:30 so we had to leg it back upstairs to find our snorkeling gear, it then turns out its from a different hotel so we were late anyway and I think basically everyone involved was confused on what to do…
However, we set off in out tiny boat with some others from this other hotel, most of them seemed to be on sail boats again and a few had just come off a cruise for 8 days, they were actually pretty helpful in telling me the best places to visit etc…
In the end I was pretty glad we were in a small boat, the tide was so low half the boats in the harbor were touching the bottom and well, they were stuck! I guess as we set off me and Armi were thinking this would just be another snorkel, I’d done a few by this point, I mean we saw a few sting rays whilst in the boat, they were cold but we weren’t expecting much different from the other islands. However, when we got in the water the visibility (though my camera still struggles) was fantastic, and unlike San Cristobal where the sea lions are fed up with tourists and I guess have a lot of people irritating them, getting their way, when on San Cristobal we kept seeing people purposely getting close with them barking to see who could get the closest before they attack. 😦 but here they atmosphere was completely different. I guess if you´re gonna go all the way to Isabella to snorkel with them, with a guide present people have more respect for the animals as they came straight over to us, blowing bubbles, swimming under us over us and there ones were big! They were following us everywhere and imitating us, tbh they reminded me a bit of dolphins! Then came the turtles, (I felt a bit like dr Doolittle!) they were the same, I mean if you got too close they swam faster but they were completely content with you swimming next to them, or under them, and after a while I looked up and realised I wasn’t in the cove anymore (I was still with the guide) and he showed us all a MASSIVE turtle hiding in the rocks, this area was also pretty shallow, with little craters I guess under the water where it got sandier and deeper, and in each one were crazy amounts of colourful fish, and then next thing you know everyone is swimming away so so fast, so I follow, get to the front and realise we´re following a shark! It turned out we were following three sharks as they were looking for fish… Only about half the group was them though and after a while we lost sight of it, so it was back to swimming through the rocks, I really couldn’t believe how much was in these waters, and every time you looked up from a rock there would be a turtle or a seal or something coming to greet us,
Then I was just chatting to Armi when I felt something against my leg, looked in the water and there was a shark swimming between my legs! Then another one came past me, so I jumped up to tell Armi, (which made them swim away faster as before they were just lazying past) and then followed, but by he time Armi got her mask on there was only one there…
Either way, I’m pretty sure the shark didn’t touch me, I guess it was the water I felt as it went past but I’ve had a shark swim between my legs… 😛
That day was awesome, we followed a trail for a while too which had amazing views on áa lava´- at first when I read that in my lonely planet I thought they´d forgotten the name so written aa and were going to replace it after research and forgot… Turns out its called aa because when you stand on it you go áh! ah!´as its really uncomfortable and spiky!
So since we didn’t do it on Tuesday, we went up to volcano Chico on Wednesday, so we had a long drive past some amazing scenery in this tourist bus made out of wood, where you really could see the changes on the island, as its the second newest island at sea level a lot of the ground is just aa lava with nothing growing and as you get higher and higher you see the odd plant coming through, then the same plants with soil not lava then a few more plants then the more reddish harder land, almost gritty with full forests of trees up into an area for just grass and low trees and bushes, most other people in the bus were asleep but I loved it! I dunno, when you´re here you cant help but try and imagine the whole process of these islands and its so hard to imagine when you can see how far they´ve come but on Isabella its just amazing to see it all, its like no other island I’ve been on so far.
I don’t know, it’s hard to explain but it really was amazing.
Anyway then I stopped looking at scenery as I saw the road ahead, there were just massive trenches and ditches all over the place and well, it wasn’t really a road anymore more like lots of dried up streams.. (dad think of the tractor trenches on the beamish, but more…) hahaha, maybe I’m strange but I loved it!hahah one girl at the back was freaking out a bit as the bus just suddenly dropped at one side and was balancing so close to the edge of these ditches but I couldn’t help but laugh… (I think I need to work on my natural instincts!) but this went on and on and on and so by the time we reached the top a few of us were a bit shaken!
So then we set off on our walk. I was hoping to go on horses but there were too many of us so by foot we set off up the volcano (sierra Negra) the second largest volcano (I think) last erupted in 2005, – apparently there was also a geologist there who was walking on the crusted lava when it broke through ant his foot went in, when he pulled it out all he had was cortorised stump on his ankle! Anyway, so we reached sierra negra, it looked pretty cool, it was a massive crater and still smoking hot! Then carried on to chico which was on the side of negra…
This one was more for the view, it was like a weird desert with a gorgeous view of the coast, of the volcanoes (literally there were little craters everywhere and a place where you could put your hand in and I swear if i´d left it in my had would have boiled or something!
The group we were with for this were lovely, once again a few had been on cruises and gave me more recommendations of what to do and I the end it made me decide I really do want to go on a small cruise for a few days.
We went out that evening which was nice, watched the sunset then met a few friends in a bar further down playing some great music from the Galapagos, had a few hours by the beach and went back to the hostel.
We decided to leave on Friday in the end as we´d done a lot of Isabella and I wanted to show Armi tortuga bay on Sta Cruz too, so we packed Thursday morning and had some time on the beach and headed to our last tour, not gonna lie I’ve been to a lot of tortoise breeding centers by this point so this wasn’t the most amazing thing I’d done but the wall of tears, though not particularly a great sight was impressive, built by 300 prisoners which by the end of the time there (when they killed the guy who ran the operation and escaped) there were only 27 left I think, this wall is so high with crazily large rocks that they had to carry without help from others where if you struggled at all they shot you, if you put your rock down they shot you, if you broke your leg picking up a stone they shot you.
There was a saying there written on the sign
Here the strong cry, the weak die.
It hard again to explain here but when you see this wall you just find it so hard to believe that something like that could have ever happened here, though the Galapagos´ history is full of death, a place they thought was enchanted and cursed where no one could ever live. It was pretty touching.
That night we headed out onto the bar on the pier, where you could get the largest coconut batidos in the largest coconut shell I have ever seen for only $5! So we sat there for a while, (me and Armi) it was nice just to look over the beach with a clear sky and a bit of reggae playing when of course we were joined by a guy, (on these islands it is impossible to have a moment by yourself without someone coming over, which is nice in a way I guess as its a way to find company but also can get pretty irritating) he was one of the guys who worked for our tour company and had been sorting out all the stuff, saying that we did have a nice chat, we tried to speak a lot in Spanish and I really do enjoy trying to pick it up and its pretty interesting but we were both pretty tired from the night before and had to get up at 5:30 the next morning for out boat to sta Cruz so we left at 11 ish to go back.
The journey back to sta Cruz was fine, we were planning to go to tortuga bay in the morning and tourist shopping and Internet cafe in the afternoon but it was raining AGAIN! I swear this island hates me so here I am now in the Internet cafe, though I feel like I’m going to have to go to the beach in the rain again…
So yeah, back on Sta Cruz, looking for a cruise to go on though at the moment I’ve had no luck everything started this morning and Jools arrives tomorrow morning so I’ll work it out later, I’ve got a week to fill before my flight back to the mainland… Hope I can fill it without bankrupting myself!!!
Chao for now…