Friday, April 27, 2012

Tortoises & lava tunnel

Back again at Santa Cruz after catching the early 06:00 ferry from Isla Isabela, Aaron (Jordan's son), Deanna (his gal), Jordan, and I hailed a taxi to head out to a tortoise reserve, El Chato, and then hike through a lava tunnel. We walked amongst the slow-motioned free-roaming tortoises and discovered that they could move quite quickly (well, tortoise quick) for their large girth when one tortoise challenged another by approaching it for a stare-down.

Dee standing next to a very large tortoise

Then our taxi driver took us to the entry of the lava tunnel (Tuneles de Lava) where he dropped us off and said he would meet us at the exit. I had read that flashlights were provided so we didn't bring any but the tunnel had hanging lights so we felt safe entering.

The surface was very rocky and bumpy, as lava tends to be, and you had to step very carefully so you wouldn't slip and fall. A short distance in, all the lights went out - I had brought a couple of headlamps but they were too dim to shed any light at all! Everyone stood still waiting, and hoping, for the lights to come back on. Soon they did and we continued through the tunnel.

Looks pretty dark up ahead...

We reached an area where you had to crawl through on your hands and knees, or even crouch lower if you were a large person, and were then at the exit. The tunnel was wet and damp so everyone was a bit muddy after crawling and touching the walls (the taxi driver provided a damp cloth for cleanup).

The lights had gone out a couple of times during our passage and by the time we reached the end, we were sure glad that they had not stayed out as it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find our way through to the exit without lights. Even without a flashlight, we definitely enjoyed the experience as we imagined what it was like when the lava had once flowed through this tunnel.

Jordan entering the higher of the low section of the tunnel

Judy with muddy knees after exiting

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