Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Isla Isabela Galápagos

Upon our return to Isla Santa Cruz (where we have Sea Turtle anchored), we bought ferry tickets for an April 24th journey to Isla Isabela. But early in the day, Aaron (Jordan's son), Deanna (his gal), and Jordan and I hiked out to swim and snorkel at Tortuga Bay before the ferry ride.

It was excruciatingly hot out as this is one of the hottest months at the Galápagos so the 2.5+ km walk was very tiring. The cobblestone path was lined with the tall Opuntia Cactus that is native to the Galápagos with stems that grow as large as trees. But upon arrival, the paradisiacal beach made it all worthwhile.

Long stretch of fine, white, coral sand beach (courtesy of Aaron & Dee)

There was very little sea life but the water was wonderful to swim in even if little sea life was evident when we snorkelled. We then hastily returned to catch the 14:30 ferry to Isla Isabela.

Isabela, in the shape of a seahorse, is the largest island of the Galápagos and still has 6 active volcanoes. It had a penal colony from 1946 to 1959. To punish the prisoners, they were forced to build a wall of huge blocks of lava rocks. The wall, measuring 100 m by 7 m high, still exists today and is known as the Wall of Tears. Isabela straddles the equator.

We checked into the Hospedeja Cerro Azul where our hosts, Nelton & Judith, were very helpful and warm hearted. We would recommend this (www.hostalisabelagalapagos.com) as a place to stay if you are ever at Isla Isabela. After settling in, we wandered around the beautiful beach and cute town where most roads were covered in white sand!

The next morning, Nelton drove us to the area of the Triplet Volcanos where we then hiked through lush vegetation as Nelton pointed out other volcanoes in the distance, along the top of steep ridges and down holding onto ropes...


...and finally deep down-reaching into the inactive volcano tube using more ropes and a few rickety stairs. It was a very beautiful location and thankfully cool in the tight opening of the volcano after a hot hike.


As we drove back to town, Nelton stopped at a plantation where we picked a couple of large papayas and then asked if we would like to stop at an eco-reserve for tortoises (land turtles). Unfortunately, just as we arrived at the reserve, the front-end suspension of Nelton's truck broke! (As we toured the reserve, Nelton arranged for another vehicle to pick us all up.)

We got a tour of the reserve, picking fresh bananas, passion fruit, and all the mangoes we wanted. After we had finally had enough of all the nature surrounding us, the staff sliced for us some of the mangoes and passion fruit that we had collected along the walk and cooled us off with chilled drinks.

I need a pedicure

Next was the boat tour to the nearby Las Tintoreras, which means white tipped sharks. The boat first dropped us off for some snorkelling among the seals, turtles, and myriad of other sea hosts including a small baby octopus that the guide handed us until it shot some ink out and away it went.

Octopus holding tightly

After which, they took us ashore and we walked a "loop" tour of part of the island where many blue-footed boobie birds, small penguins only found in the Galápagos, seals, bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs, and marine iguanas were lazing around. Marine iguanas are only found in the Galápagos - no other place in the world - and it was quite hilarious to watch as they "sneezed" the saltwater from their nasal glands after their foraging underwater.

Warming in the sun, sneezing out salt after ocean swim (courtesy of Dee)

1 comment:

Hugo Costa said...

I guys,

Check the turtle page at
http://skaphandrus.com
a comprehensive catalogue of marine species to sea lovers.