Santa Cruz and Isabela – Galapagos

At dawn as we were getting ready to leave San Cristobal, this guy was so comfortably snoring in our dinghy that we waited (a little) before waking him and chasing him off.

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We motored the 40 miles from San Cristobal to Santa Cruz (little wind).  Some dolphins paid us a short visit.

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Instead of staying on Santa Cruz island, I arranged an overnight side trip to Isabela, mostly in hopes of seeing Galapagos penguins. Yes, penguins at the equator! Thanks to the Humboldt current. In addition, I liked the idea of doing something on my own, and staying in a room with a real shower… I left early the morning after arriving in Santa Cruz, before other BPOers got their own Isabela trips in place.

The “ferry” was a challenge. They don’t use tickets. You get your name on a list, and you have an “agent” (associated with the travel agent I used) help you connect to the right boat. In my case the boat had been changed, for I don’t know what reason, so it was useful to have the help of the agent, despite it’s being a little stressful to have to meet someone you don’t know on a dock at 6:30am in order to get you aboard. Then two hours mostly in the sun, packed in with 25 others on a rather small boat with three massive outboards, occasionally pounding over the waves. Thankfully it was a relatively calm day. [The return trip turned out to be full of bone-jarring pounding and sick passengers…]

Ferry leaving Santa Cruz
Ferry leaving Santa Cruz

 

Another agent meets me at the other end, and gets in a taxi with me to take me to my “hotel,” provide me with a map, and make sure I know how to meet my tour (more to follow about that) and my return to the dock for the ferry back.  The hotel is tiny and simple and nice — includes hot water in the shower, should someone want it (actually I did, after snorkeling). I walk around exploring for the morning.

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In the afternoon I am picked up for my “Tintoreras” tour, which is likely to include penguins. It does. And I get some wonderful shots of them juxtaposed with cactus plants in the background. Later I find that I had my camera set up wrong, and all my fabulous pictures are blurry. Crap! But first there are sharks and turtles and countless iguanas and some nice snorkeling.

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Not obvious, but this is a white tipped reef shark. It was more obvious when we were snorkeling and it swam right past me!

I go to dinner at the “Booby Trap,” run by an expat from Los Angeles. I’m the only customer, despite it being rated #1 in the town by Trip Advisor, and the price being quite reasonable. I have a good time chatting with the owner, and when I tell him of my camera error, he suggests a place where I might see penguins in the morning, if I get there early. I ask what early means, and he says maybe 6am. Hmm, I was planning to sleep late.

But no, I get up early and get there by six. No penguins. I guess the superb penguin cover shot is just not to be. I rent a bike for $2/hour and ride out of town, up to the “wall of tears” – a pointless wall of chunks of volcanic rock built by prisoners in a penal colony in the 1940’s/1950’s. Not much to see, but a nice bike ride, nice views, and some time on the extremely beautiful beach.

So here’s another round of wildlife and scenic photos – probably the last from Galapagos. With apologies for the not-up-to-my-usual-standard shots of penguins…

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Yes, those are penguins hanging out with the boobies.
Yes, those are penguins hanging out with the boobies.
This was to be the prize-winning photo, with the cactus in the background.  Oh well.
This was to be the prize-winning photo, with the cactus in the background. Oh well.

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I like this cactus; reminds me of a woman dancing or saluting the sun.
I like this cactus; reminds me of a woman dancing or saluting the sun.

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Rented a bike for $2/hr and rode here.
Rented a bike for $2/hr and rode here.

Rode to the “wall of tears,” which is a completely pointless 30′ high wall of lava blocks built from/to nowhere by prisoners in a penal colony in the 1940’s/1950’s.

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Lava tube (tunnel under part of it)

 

 

 

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Just another tortuga, except all the others were in a breeding area; this one is in the wild.
Just another tortuga, except all the others were in a breeding area; this one is in the wild.
Back on Santa Cruz, walked this 2-mile path to a beautiful beach.
Back on Santa Cruz, walked this 2-mile path to a beautiful beach.

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Noontime shadow – or lack thereof.

 

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I like the patterns in the sand.

 

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This guy looks familiar to me.

 

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5 thoughts on “Santa Cruz and Isabela – Galapagos”

  1. FYI, just read that tortoise hatchlings were found on Pinzon Island in the Galapagos, first found in a century . Black rats ate them into extinction. They have controlled the black rat population and now the tortoise is making a come back!

    Like

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