In search of the Sharks
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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The rather annoying thing here is despite having our own cooking facilities it is far cheaper to eat out than actually cook for ourselves – but the cheapest option (which we have to go for) always involves chips which isn’t exactly what we want to be eating EVERY day – sometime twice (I say that but I could eat chips every day with not much encouragement if I’m honest). Anyway, we sat down at a table at the only restaurant open for breakfast and had a look at the menu, rather interestingly the options were 1. Breakfast, 2. Lunch or 3.Dinner. Having no idea what was about to be put before us we ordered the 4 Dollar breakfast and waited, the flies were around but not intolerable. After about 5 minutes we were served a juice which I have to say, I don’t know what fruit it was but it was vile, next we got a cup of hot water and a jar of instant coffee and sugar
We paid up thanking the lady for a lovely breakfast, how British, and then headed down to the port area to Concha De Perla the lagoon to have a swim and snorkel. We were just getting the snorkels out of the bag on the pontoon when the money belt with about 200 Dollars in and all the bank cards which happened to be on top fell out in to the water – in what was like a comedy sketch Andrew dived in after it on to shallow rocks but managed to come up unscathed and thrust the belt at me yelling "get the cards, get the cards out" much to the amusement of a German tourist waiting on the pontoon next to us. Fortunately the cards were dry, and the money just a little bit soggy, thank god we aren’t in Burma with their anal perfect Dollar note obsession. I was just thrilled that after I dropped the belt in to the sea in Easter Island and got so much stick for it that now the tables were turned and it was my turn to get my own back (Andrew Edit – despite a quick game of the blame game in which I tried to blame Erica for sitting about not helping it was clearly my fault with no escaping, still within 1 minute we were in hysterics joined by the merry German bloke and all were rolling about in loud hysterics, perhaps the German bloke found it more funny)
Feeling a bit sun beat we gave up on the sunbathing and walked back down to the port to try to find a kindly skipper with time on his hands who wanted to take us out in search of more interesting sea life. We wandered around and eventually a guy approached us and after agreeing a fee of 15 Dollars we were on our way back out to Las Tintoreras the small volcanic rock islands around Isabela (Andrew Edit – Erica neglects to mention all I said to the skipper is I want to see sharks, making a hand fin on my back, he understood and so off we went). As soon as we got out in to the open water, which incidentally you can see right to the bottom of it is that clear, turtles appeared everywhere popping their heads up occasionally for a breath of fresh air and giving us a quick once over. They were huge, the biggest Green Sea Turtles we have ever seen and we can say that with some authority after this trip. The Galapagos penguins were doing exactly the same thing too just swimming alongside the boat staring us out and then disappearing below to carry on hunting for fish. Again we saw Blue Boobies but far more than yesterday, the same goes for the penguins on the rocks who were busy sunning themselves – they lift their heads up to the sun with their wings outstretched – adorable
Fortunately we made our way through the rough area and came to a much calmer bay where the guy told us “sharks” and pointed down. Sometimes the language barrier works to our advantage, sometimes it doesn’t – this was one of those times. We just looked at one another, looked at the skipper, who looked back at us like we were demented, looked back at each other and without thinking about it any longer jumped in into a huge shoal of Yellow Tailed Surgeon fish (Andrew Edit: Amusingly the skipper then started the engine and buggered off a long way into the distance on the basis we would drift in the strong currents towards him). They were beautiful and we got to swim in amongst them for at least five minutes – wow even the fish are as hard as nails and don’t even flinch at human company – it suddenly occurred to me that that didn’t bode well for the white tipped reef sharks that frequent this area. We swam through deep water and fast current over towards the island where a sea-lion scared us half to death as it appeared out of nowhere – at moments like these I am ashamed to say that my survival technique is to use Andrew as a shield and jump on his back (under the illusion that he is calm and collected) when in actual fact he is as scared as me (Andrew Edit - It was one of those terrifying moments you can’t see anything around you then whilst looking out for sharks something appears out of nowhere at almost lightening speed and almost before you know what it is it has disappeared before returning to have another couple of looks at you)
On the way back to the harbour we got to see three rays swimming past the boat, they were really incredible but as ever the camera doesn’t do them justice at all. We went for lunch at a different restaurant (all the swimming had worked up our appetites) to the one we had had breakfast in and I had shrimp spears (the Galapagos version of skewers) and Andrew had Coca Cola Chicken a delicious combination of chicken in a coca cola sauce with chips and steamed vegetables. I think I will be trying to replicate the sauce back home. We decided to escape the sun (we were both looking quite red some may say purple) and went back to the hostel for a sleep and a shower. At about 4pm we were sure that the heat of the day had dissipated so we went back in to town to try to get a taxi to the lagoon again for another snorkel (the tide was in so we hoped there would be different things to see). Now we have no idea how the taxi thing works here, we have been in a couple of taxis / 4x4’s (to the hostel with Lauro and to the boat trip arranged by Lauro) but nobody stops on the street if you try to flag them down (a taxi rank maybe? Um no)
The evening was beginning to set in so we packed up the stuff and returned the snorkels back to the shop and sat down at our favourite restaurant for their 3 course set menu again. All good but the dessert was last nights’ jelly but frozen – is that okay - I don’t know I’ll tell you tomorrow. On the way back it felt a bit like Groundhog Day, the same men sat in the same seats watching the volleyball on the court near to our hostel – the same chickens rotating on the rotisserie. This is evening entertainment Galapagos style. We repacked our bags ready for our 5am wake-up call and our 6am ferry back to Santa Cruz - this place has really grown on us in the past couple of days
Oh and just to add, as if you hadn’t already guessed I LOVE THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS....
‘Andrew Edit – Indeed the villages on the islands are not paradise by any stretch but the water surrounding the islands is absolutely amazing, Andrew exhales deeply and ponders a life where we still had money and were relaxing with our Gin and Tonic’s aboard a luxury yacht. Dream on!’