San Cristobal, Galapagos, Ecuador
05 March 2015 | Galapagos
Julie, holy cow it's nice here!
San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
What a wonderful place this is! We arrived on a Friday, spent the day getting checked in then checking out the town and then off we went! You can't do much here unless you are accompanied by a naturalist guide so we have been taking tours. The first tour took us to the tortoise breeding center where they keep several giant tortoises, incubate their eggs, raise the babies until they are around 5 and then release them. It was exciting to see them up close. For those of you from the Twin Cities: do you remember the giant tortoises at Como Park? They might still be there but back in the 70's the keepers would let you ride them. A thrill for us, not so much for the poor tortoises. They are treated with much more respect here.
After seeing the tortoises, we hiked up to the only fresh water lake in the islands, and went swimming at a nice beach.
Another tour that we took was called 360. We got on a high speed boat and circumnavigated the island, stopping from time to time to sight see, or snorkel. On one of the stops we swam with huge green sea turtles that had been trapped at low time I a tidal pool. They didn't seem to mind having us share their little puddle of water. At that same stop we saw a young Galapagos shark and Ken even spotted a pipefish, Pipefish are related to sea horses. They look kind of like a seahorse that has been stretched out into the shape of a pipe.
There is an island near here that is created from the ash of a volcano. It is mad up of 3 or so spires of rock that come jutting toward the sky from 300 feet fellow sea level. There is a large canyon between two of the spires that is about 60 feet deep by 40 feet wide. All of the big ocean creatures like shark, eagle Rays, and turtles come to this canyon to rest. People go there to see them. If you scuba dive in this canyon you are more likely to see some of big guys but after debating and flip flopping on whether to dive or snorkel, we opted to snorkel. We are certified divers but haven been diving for about 20 years and though it best to keep our next dive simple. As it turns out, we made the best decision. The dive master/guide had them down at 130 feet when they were all getting low on air. That is not in my comfort zone. We got to see plenty while snorkeling. We swam with 9 huge Eagle Rays. That experience alone made the price of the trip worthwhile. After the Eagle Rays, we saw two Hammerhead sharks, and several large black tip reef sharks. What a great experience.
It's 5:30 in the morning, the sky is just barely starting to lighten up, I am sitting in the cockpit listening to the world around me. There are sea lions swimming around the boat, making their sea lion sounds and smells. Soon the Pelicans and Blue Footed Boobies will be out, diving for breakfast. This place is wonderful.
I think that we are finished with our tours. We have to complete some repairs, get checked out by the port captain and we will head over to another island soon.