Beautiful Isabela

Trip Start Nov 13, 2010
Trip End Jul 20, 2011

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Where I stayed
Cruz del Sur

Flag of Ecuador  , Galápagos,
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Isabela was a study in contrasts.  We started the morning by coming ashore at the sleepy - nearly comatose, town of Villamil.  We walked through town - if you are coming to the Galapagos for relaxation and you want to stay in a nice hotel - they have one or two here.  Small little boutique hotels, a few mini shops, an internet cafe, some restaurants and not much else other than a turtle breeding/rescue centre.   The hike to the turtle centre went through a mangrove marsh area, over a lagoon and then wound its way through the poison apple trees.  The walk was lovely - took us about 45 minutes.  The turtle place was a hit with the turtle fans - I was bored and happy they had ice cream.  We did see hundreds and hundreds of turtles of all ages and species, some of the giant tortoises we had seen in the wild a week before - they looked way happier in the wild.  After being so spoiled with the magnificent opportunity to be with nature, just our little group sometimes on these islands, it was a downer to be at a zoo like thing. 

After learning about the turtles we had a little free time to relax in town before heading back for lunch and one of my favorite, albeit scorching, hikes that afternoon.

We landed at a cove at Las Tintoreras lagoon and started through a flat completly black lava field.  In this field, on every searing sharp edged stone, were black lizards.  Again, scientifically speaking, about one zillion of them in a very small area - maybe a half kilometer square. It was like Jurassic Park. All sizes, all black, all actively either digging a hole, closing a hole or hanging out with their homey's. 
There were so many holes made for nests that they were digging into each others space.  Talk about a population explosion!  and no one flying over looking to eat them.  No predators - just mini dinasaurs rulling their little black earth.  If it hadn't been so hot I would have loved to just sit and take in all the community action.  The pictures don't represent the numbers of these much better than those slow witted turtles!

Snorkelling was good - again in lava bottomed water - I did see a few examples of colored corals - some light violet and soft orange - nothing like the Carribean or the Red Sea, but the rawness of the volcanic rock has it's own beauty - so Dinasaur like:  very other worldly.

Back on the boat for cocktails and young Dirk upped the class of the joint by donning a beautiful Linen suit his mother had insisted he bring travelling.  The poor kid had been backpacking thru South America for months and had never had the opportunity to wear it.  His mother in Holland told him he needed to buy one good outfit to have and, damn it all, here, near the end of his trip, he was going to get some wear out of it.  His fashion promotion was followed by the girls tarting it up a lot and we had some fun with Dirk as Supermodel, man of mystery.

Dirk - Show these pictures to your Mom and tell her she was right.  The suit added some real class to our cruise and you looked very handsome in it!
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