Another day of getting up at 6 AM. We had a surprisingly rough voyage last night. Of course, no where near as rough as the “Drake”, but rough enough for you to feel the power of the water under us. I did not sleep well due to this and having too much coffee all day.
We changed our schedule since the volcano we were going to visit was a muddy mess and you could not get near it either by vehicle or foot. We were anchored in a bay off of the island of Isabela. After breakfast, we boarded our Pangas and drove to town or what you call a town in the Galapagos. As we drove by other boats anchored in the harbor, we saw sea lions boarding them and the boats had no people on them. The Galapagos does not allow helicopters, jet skiing, jet skis, para gliding or another other kind of activity that you would normally see on the beach area of most of the islands around the world. You could count the restaurants on your hand and the hotel facilities were very barren. The name of the town is “Puerto Villamil”. As soon as we disembarked our Pangas and started to walk up to our van, we saw marine iguanas and sea lions all over town. They outnumbered the people there. The sea lions had taken over the beach and the iguanas were all over. You had to watch where you walked. We were driven to a long white beach that had lots of black lava outcroppings. On some of the outcroppings were infant marine iguanas. I have grown to love these creatures. They are so photogenic and do not bother anyone. They make great subject matter and look like prehistoric dinosaurs that have been left over. There were also crabs and some more Sally Lightfoot crabs. Made for an interesting morning of exploring and walking around.
We got back to the yacht at about 11 AM. The heat seems more intense in the morning and the humidity starts high and goes down as the day wears on. We all rested until lunch.
After lunch Lisa gave a very informative lecture on the Galapagos penguins. They are so unique and there are only about one thousand pairs here. Don’t forget, these are the only penguins in the world that live on the equator and they only exist in the Galapagos. The reason is even though we are on the Ecuador, the water is much colder than you would find in an area on the equator. The Humboldt current brings up cold water from the Antarctic, surrounds the Galapagos and then goes back down to Antartica. As you already know, we have been wearing wet suits while snorkeling.
At about three o’clock, we then boarded our Pangas for a return visit to Puerto Villamil. We disembarked and then boarded a van to go to the Tortoise Breeding Station. This is not a zoo. We had previously seen tortoise’s in the wild. This center was created to protect tortoises during their first five years of life. Giant tortoise eggs are collected and brought to the center where they are hatched and kept for around five years until they are released back into their natural environment.
After leaving the Tortoise Breeding Station, we walked on a long trail through some wetlands. Nothing grows in the Galapagos. There is no soil to grow crops. Everything is on lava. No native or indigenous people live here. The wetlands were beautiful. We walked over mangroves that were growing through back lava. We passed by some beautiful birds and flamingos. Our van was waiting at the end of the walkway and will all boarded it for a ride back to the pier and Pangas.
Dinner was amazing. The chef had made sushi and it was very good. Local fish bough in the market made as sushi.
After dinner Andy had us each submit three pictures for a critique. The session lasted a good two hours and Andy did a wonderful and informative job.
Talk to everyone tomorrow from this unique place. I am understanding now how the Galapagos changed the world.