Galapagos – Part II

You may remember in Part I of my Galapagos recap, I spent 5 days cruising around the Galapagos Islands with an all-inclusive tour.  On the 5th day, we disembarked in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island and took a quick tour of the Darwin Research Station.  It was saddening to learn that Lonesome George had died months before my arrival.  While it was a short visit and small facility, it was interesting to see the work being done to breed and propagate the propulation of tortoises in the Galapagos.

With the cruise over and the tour group on the way to the airport, I was free to explore Santa Cruz before taking a ferry to San Cristobal for my last few days.  Lava tubes?  Sounds like some hollowed out rocks.  No! They’re so much more amazing than that.  They’re HUGE hollowed out rocks! Giant tunnels underneath the earth that made my imagination explode.  The self guided tour was made even more lovely by the yellow lab, named Toto, whom made it a guided tour for a fee of 3 crackers.

The ferry over to San Cristobal was actually more of a speed boat.  The Dramamine really came in handy during those two hours of slamming against the perpendicular waves.   A little discomfort was worth checking out one more island during my visit, though.  The town of Puerto Moreno was much smaller and more charming for me than Puerto Ayora.  Nearby was a beach and cliffs to hike to right out of town and while it was beautiful, the main reason for a visit to San Cristobal was to go scuba diving.

The experience was night and day to Honduras.  The boat took our group of 5 divers (and 3 snorkelers) out to Kicker Rock for two dives.

The water was beyond frigid, even with a full body wet suit and booties.  The visibility was terrible.  The current, for being a newbie, was approaching my limits.  The lack of coral was evident.  And yet, it was superb.  There were sea turtles everywhere, brilliantly colored starfish, a channel in between that plastered a grin on my face upon surfacing and, what I had hoped to experience all along, swimming alongside a shark.  Granted, it was a Galapagos shark and not a hammerhead (supposedly they were all around us as we were going through a cleaning station, but the visibility was too poor to reveal them), but I was thrilled nonetheless.  Plus, missing out on the hammerheads gives me something to go back for!

*Dive photos not by me!

Click on the images to view full size or check out these imagines and more on my flickr site: Galapagos

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