Cliff jumping and crystal clear waters

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 01, 2015

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Flag of Ecuador  , Galapagos,
Saturday, January 12, 2013

Our speed boat collected us from the pier at around 7am - it took us around 1.45hours to get to Santa cruz island some 100km away. They seem To really struggle with my name here as my ticket read swah! The boat was so fast and we bounced over the waves with incredible force!
We managed to find another fairly cheap room which seemed to be just that - a room - not part of a hotel or hostel or anything, it had its own little outside area as well! It was cloudy again today so we headed to the Charles Darwin research centre on the eastern side of the island. The main town here puerto ayora is much busier than San cristobal and we passed numerous shops and restaurant that we couldnt afford on the way. When we signed in the lady told us all about the animals we would see, land iguanas and 5 species of giant tortoises. Unfortunately the most famous tortoise in the world and the last of its species died in June 2012 - his name was lonesome george. We thought we saw some big tortoises yesterday but these were on another level - they were huge and must of weighed around 1tonne (that was Tai's zoologist estimation). We saw more baby ones in the breeding centre and even two older ones attempting to make some new baby ones! They also had land iguanas which were a bright orangey gold colour - another animal here which is apparently in threat of extinction. On the way back we passed a little path which lead to a beach which we thought we'd check out for snorkelling, as we walked down the path a rock moved to our right and we realised it was in fact a huge marine iguana, then we spotted another on the path right in front of us, we passed by warily of these scary looking creatures with spikes stretching the length of their spines, they didn't even flinch as we passed just watched us cautiously with there eyes without even moving there heads. When we got to the beach the tide was out and all the rocks were exposed, perching among the rocks were lots more marine iguanas and a couple of pelicans. We decided to come back once the tide was in and hope we could snorkel amongst the iguanas. We headed back to town for lunch - home made sandwiches is all we can afford here - tai is in his element and then wandered around the harbour. We headed back to the beach a couple of hours later and spent a while snorkelling, although we had seen loads of iguanas on the paths and beaches we didn't see any in the water we did however see loads of fish and crabs - which are bright red here. Again it was cold so we didn't last long and instead sat on the beach watching a young child torment an iguana before her parents realised and dragged her away. When we got back to the main sq there was a big chess competition on with 1 lady playing against about 12 different people all at once, making her way up and down the line, beating one person after another until finally shed beaten them all!
The skies cleared just as the sun was setting and we hoped the next day would be another sunny day on the Galapagos.
Unfortunately we awoke to clouds covering the sky and so decided to walk to an area called tortuga bay - it was about a 7 mile walk and so we figured it was better to do this on a day it was a little cooler. We walked through the town and up a hill to the entrance to the national park, where we then had to follow a path about 2.5miles down to the beach. The beach was stunning and there was even some blue sky on the horizon, the tide was out and we were welcomed with a wide white sandy beach. We walked along the beach towards tortuga bay. The bay is sheltered from the rest of the sea and is home to an array of wildlife including white tipped reef sharks and as the name suggests - turtles. The clouds had cleared and it had turned into a day of pure sun shine!
We were both pretty hot after our walk and so go straight into the water - the bay was really shallow and even I could walk out for ages! We went snorkelling but the visibility wasn't very good so spent most of the time sunbathing, paddling, swatting huge biting flies and exploring the mangrove and cactus areas which framed the bay- apparently it is around these areas that the sharks are. Towards the end of the day we walked up onto a little elevated part and managed to see a turtle swimming about in the water, then we saw a marine iguana swim along the shoreline and get out right by us! Feeling the effects the sun had on our un sun lotioned skin we stayed in that night, had more sandwiches for dinner and ate slices of cheese in bed like white trash! Our 3rd day on Santa cruz was probably one of our best days, originally we wanted to go to a place that we found out you could only reach by organised tour so we changed our plans, jumped in a water taxi to the other side of the bay (on route we spotted another turtle) and began our walk to las greitas. The walk - or scramble - took about 1/2 an hour and we had to climb and balance over rocks the whole way. Las greitas is a canyon formed of 2 huge walls made from lava fissures and is filled with water that is filtered down from the highlands and a mix of sea water. The water was so clear that from the top you could see 20mtrs all the way to the bottom and watch the fish swimming in the water, the walls then towered above another 20m. The best thing was that you could climb the walls and cliff dive off into the water below. Tai went 1st and I followed - pretending to be scared to make tai feel better for freaking out (or maybe I was genuinely scared- I forget)
We jumped a few times , in fact the scariest thing was climbing up over slippery rocks that were only wide enough for us to side step across.
When we got back to town we headed to the ninfas lagoon which is a big lagoon that is surrounded by mangroves, it has a path around it that winds its way through all the roots of the mangroves and is full of locals jumping off a pier in the middle. Then we headed to the beach we went to on the 1st day here by the Charles Darwin centre - we took our snorkelling stuff and went in and explores the rocks around the bay, the water was so much clearer than before and warmer than before and we couldn't believe our luck when we spotted 3 rays swimming right by us! That night (sick of sandwiches) we went for dinner to a street called kiosk alley where tables of people fill the streets and kiosks serve all kinds of food from pizzas to Chinese to local dishes.
Our 4th day was our final day here before we went to Isla Isabella and having visited all the free sights we decided to choose our favourites and re visit those. In the morning we headed back to the Charles Darwin centre to see the tortoises - that were just as awesome the second time round - some hadn't seemed to of moved for 3days and were still in the same places! And in the afternoon we went back to las greitas and discovered a new area which had loads more fish in it and we snorkelled with a school of maybe 30 parrot fish as we weaves our way through the huge rocks that had fallen off the cliffs and into the water! Our walk back to the water taxi was a little more eventful this time - I fell over - in the mud! Wet flip flops are definitely not the best lava fissure climbing shoes! When we got back to town we played on the swings, ate ice creams and fed some tiny little birds which if your wondering are called camarhynchus pallidus.
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Sarahs Mum on

Did you know the tortoises have different shape shells depending on what island they are living on, ( thanks to David Attenborough for that gem)

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