Exploring Isabela

Sunday morning we were up early, got a water taxi ashore, and then waited on the dock for our tour boat.   Lots of other tourists came and went…and we sat there…wondering what was going on.    Finally, about 45 minutes later, some tourists turned up with a tour guide for our trip.   Clearly the 8 am rendezvous time must have been at the office in town which is a 20 minute walk away rather than on the dock.

We piled into the boat with the other tourists which were another international group with two Germans, four British (including us), one Australian and two Ecuadorians.   We enjoyed the view of Morphie at anchor on our way through before the captain opened the throttles and we took off down the coast at speed.

First stop was this rock that just rises out of the sea majestically.  We enjoyed the sight of the boobies on the top of the rock and the seals sleeping it off lower down.    

Moving on we turned towards the reef and suddenly the captain is gunning it and we are surfing the large waves through a narrow gap in the rocks.   This trip is definitely not for anybody with a nervous disposition! 

And we entered a world of lava tunnels and bridges dotted with cactus.   It has absolutely spectacular scenery and was very quiet and sedate after our dramatic entrance. We motored through this area quietly just taking it all in… 

And then we got out of the boat and, after an obligatory selfie, we headed carefully across the rocks to find some blue-footed boobies.  

The lava is not thick in places and is full of cracks and crevices – with nothing to hold on to – unless you fancy a fistful of needles from a cactus!   We found a breeding boobie pair and quite a few single males looking for a lifetime of love as they only ever have one partner.   These birds are amazing and they really didn’t mind us getting up close and personal.       

Back into the boat and we meandered around for a little while longer between the rock formations before the captain gunned the engine again to get over the breaking waves beyond the reef.   These guys know what they are doing!   Finally we were outside and motoring along the coastline again and we came across a manta ray in the water.  Sadly he didn’t hang around long enough for a photo but was lovely to see him – he had about a 12 foot wingspan so probably only a juvenile.

We then headed back through the crashing surf into another area behind the reef.  The water was pretty murky but this was our snorkelling destination so we jumped in.   Before we had even got ten yards we came across a huge – I mean small car size – turtle.   Amazing!    Then another…and another….and another.   At one point there were three turtles in sight at one time.   Sadly the gloomy conditions meant that photos aren’t great – but here are a few anyway.

Moving away from the turtle area and we came across a shark swimming around.  The guide then took us to a rock and told us to approach one by one…and dive down…and have a look.  Well the cave is full of sharks resting.    Wow!    Shame we weren’t kitted out with scuba tanks as a snorkel dive wasn’t just long enough to watch them properly. 

Once everyone had seen the sharks we then headed closer to the mangroves – through some very shallow water – to another area.   The guide was looking for a seahorse.   And, in all that gloom, he actually found one!    It was much bigger than any we had seen before…and glad that we managed to get a picture of him.

Back to the boat and it was time for the fast trip to return to town.    Had been another fantastic Galapagos adventure!

Back on board Morphie we enjoyed the views from the cockpit before the heavens opened and we had another downpour.   At least Morphie is getting a clean LOL.    We had a very stormy sunset before an early night.

Monday morning and we were up early.   We still had problems with the iPad weather app so wanted to go to the internet café to see if we could resolve it.    So we hailed a water taxi and headed into town.  The 15 minute walk into the centre of town is hot and has no shade but, so far, we have failed to hail a truck taxi which costs only $1-2 apparently.    We dropped our laundry off first and then found the internet place and logged on – and we managed to delete the frozen app to start again.  So that’s a great start.   But then someone else came in and logged on….and a women started skyping on the phone….so we were unable to reload it.  But at least we know it is just a slow connection speed issue rather than the iPad going wrong.   On the long way back to the boat we tried to find fresh produce and bread but failed on both counts.

We got a water taxi back to Morphie.  The tide was low so we could see rocks appearing throughout the anchorage….and the driver had to take a very long circuitous route to get us back. 

We weren’t back for very long just enough time to get changed and drop off computers etc.    Then we got into beach wear and headed back into town.   I chatted to the iguanas near the beach and, again, no taxis available. 

We walked into and through town to the beach at the far end and settled into the bar.  We had a lovely time chatting with Remy (our Australian buddy from the day before) and had a bob in the water – Richard even tried out the hammocks.    Oh yes and I negotiated two free large beers for us as my sun dress got ruined when I sat at the bar on a seat which had just been cleaned with bleach!    

We took the long walk back to the town dock before returning to Morphie and we had a nice evening in the cockpit listening to tunes.

Tuesday morning and I was struggling with my dodgy legs.    All the walking, snorkelling and the climbing on and off water taxis and boats had taken its toll.   So we both had a lazy day although Richard did go into town to collect our laundry.   Oh yes….and some excitement.….when a large catamaran was declined entry into the harbour.  They had had their international zarpe issued and had checked out in Santa Cruz – and used the excuse that their daughter was ill to gain a couple of days grace in Isabela.   The answer was a strict no from both the agent and the port authorities so they were forced to start their long passage to the Marquesas….that’s what you get when you try to find a way around the rules!

Wednesday morning and I felt a bit better.  I did the clothes washing – we only take our sheets and towels to the laundry – and Richard cleaned the Galapagos grime from the waterline of Morphie.   The growth sure builds up here in this nutrient-rich environment.   Later on we got ready to go to the beach again and hailed a water taxi.    We enjoyed watching the seals playing in the surf as we arrived and check out the baby posing on the beach.  What a cutie!!!  

We headed into town – walking again – sigh…..   Richard had a chat to the iguanas while we took a breather.  

We got to the beach bar and were delighted to find the little private tower unoccupied.   So we took up residence, enjoyed the spectacular views and just chilled over a couple of cold ones.   We had a lovely time.   

Afterwards we wandered town again and this time found potatoes and tomatoes – woo hoo!!!    And the bakers was open….so we finally have bread again….   We walked back to Morphie slightly laden as we had found a shop selling canned beers and sodas much cheaper than in Santa Cruz so we thought we might as well replenish our stocks while we are here.

This morning, Thursday, and we were just getting ready to go into town when a huge pontoon boat picked up the giant mooring behind us.    When we anchored this was a fair way away from us but as the wind has swung more easterly it is a bit closer.   So Richard stayed on board while I went into town for my hair appointment….and I finally got a taxi….woo hoo!   Had a nice experience at the hairdressers although was a bit surprised that they didn’t have running water so my hair was rinsed using a jug from a bucket.   Back to Morphie and Richard had cleaned up down below, swapped out a faulty pressure gauge on the water maker and had tested it by making some more drinking water.  He’s now reading while I’m blogging – we’ll probably just stay put for the rest of the day.

We have decided to stay here for Easter and chill on the beach.   The volcano rim trip, sadly, isn’t going to work as they leave at silly o’clock in the morning and there is no way the water taxis will be working that early to get Richard ashore.  So that’s off the list but we have found out that that there is an inland lagoon that is full of flamingos so we hope to explore that instead.    

Bye for now