Friday, April 5, 2019

Santa Cruz to Isabela Island

Early mornings and early nights are a thing for us in the Galápagos.

Today we left Santa Cruz for the island of Isabela on the 2:30pm ferry boat. After packing up we went to the early morning fish market. Restaurants were purchasing their fish for tonight’s offerings.

The humans were outnumbered by local wildlife.  Marine iguanas chilled on the dock while pelicans were all over the place, eyes scanning for opportunity. 

The sea lions were very cheeky. They would look over the side of the fisherman’s boats and then jump right in, steal a fish carcass, jump out and swim off; followed closely by frigate birds, ready to swoop in and nab any flesh they could. A few sea lion arguments ensued but nothing too violent.

On the shore, a colony of tiny crabs went about their business, oblivious to all the excitement.

John had to pry me away from the scene in order to go for breakfast.

We snagged a table at “Tropic Bird.” I had a delicious bowl of yogurt, granola and fruit. I find portions to be quite generous in Ecuador. Many times I think John and I could easily split a meal. Unfortunately most of the time we want different things (ie. John won’t order what I want him to). 

After breakfast we checked out of our hotel, Hotel Espana. We recommend this hotel; it is well priced, very clean, great staff, air conditioned rooms, nice lobby and has wifi. It is also well located, a short walk to the pier (my favourite night time spot) and the kiosko restaurant ally. Very central.

We left our luggage at the hotel and went to the pier to catch a boat taxi to the ritzy side of the harbour where the expensive hotels like the Finch Bay Hotel (starting at $500 US per night) are located. 

On the pier a sea lion was passed out under a bench. He must have been pretty ill because he had pooped all over the area and himself. He also really stunk...he must have had bad fish for dinner.

The boat taxi was 80 cents and only a five minute trip. Our destination was Las Greitas, a large fissure in the rocks created by volcanic activity filled with sea water. The walk to Las Greitas was along a picturesque path that the fancy hotels, a National Geographic resort, beach, lagoons, salt ponds and a protected iguana breeding beach. Many lava lizards scuttled across our path.

Many tourists were swimming in the water. It was very picturesque (except for the tourists).

We walked a path above the fissure to get some different views. We also had great views of the island.

It was nice to be able to relax and do it at our own pace. While just relaxing and taking in the scene we were joined by a woman from Vancouver. We chatted for a bit before John and I headed back to the port.

We were at the dock to catch our ferry to Isabela Island at 1:45. They checked all bags for quarantined foods and plants and even checked our packed shoes for anything that may have attached itself.

The ferry boat took a maximum of 30 people but there were only 20 of us. The boat is really just a small fishing type yacht with seating along both sides   and luggage stowed inside the bow. Fortunately it was a lot more comfortable then yesterday’s boat. The inside looked a lot like a 1970s bar with thickly padded seats. John and I each took a Gravol for the two hour trip. They handed out barf bags to anyone that wanted them. I grabbed one but it went unused. The waters weren’t too rough but we were still bouncing around. Around the halfway point it felt like we were airborne many times. One of the ladies was slunk across the back and looked like she was going to lose it. John and I were fine.

Isabela Island has one small...very small town called Puerto Villamil. It is mostly made up of a few hostels and hotels, tour agencies and restaurants. I noticed that they had a small lit up sports area where many local men were hanging out and playing volleyball with others watching. The roads are sand. There is a beautiful beach front.

After checking into our accommodations, Hostal Cerro Azul, we went straight to Pahoehoe tour agency which was highly recommended online, and booked our tours and return ferry tickets. They were incredibly helpful.

We checked out the beach and went for a seafood supper of shrimp, octopus and squid with fresh cooked vegetables, rice, fries, bread and wine all for $30 US for both of us.

This place is so peaceful. It feels like paradise. I’m so glad we are here for five days.

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