Day: April 17, 2017
With very little to no wind, we used the spinnaker for part of our journey and motored the remainder of the way to Isabela.
We passed several small islands, many looking like partial volcanos.
Once we’d anchored, a boat load of customs and immigration officials boarded and began the usual paperwork and inspections. They again made sure we had fire extinguishers, flares, first aid kits and correct paperwork, and once completed wanted to know if Jude and Mycah had boyfriends. The girls immediately told them they did. One of the agents wanted a photo with the creatures then broke out his phone and played music trying to impress.
Isabela is the largest of all the islands of Galapagos. One would think that with it being the largest island it would have the largest developments, but that is not the case. Isabela is one of the youngest of the islands and was named after Queen Isabela of Spain. It was formed by 6 volcanos, 5 of which are still active. Long fingers of lava rock stretch out into the ocean, which reminds me so much of Hawaii.
We love the diversity of wildlife and landscape here. Beautiful areas of white sand beaches
slowly transform into cactus and brush,
which continues on into marine iguana covered lava rock meeting ocean.
Danny, the creatures and I went into the town of Puerto Villamil on an adventure together.
All the streets are sand, and most of the few stores that there are, are closed.
We wandered around until we came to a place that rented bicycles, and after Danny negotiated a good price for six of them, we set out on what would end up being a beautiful, exhausting, grand adventure…
We peddled down the streets of sand, and out into an open area that ran parallel to the beach.
The scenery was so gorgeous, and the temperature was around 90 degrees.
Each of us carried our usual backpacks with a towel and water bottle, and of course I always have my camera equipment. We passed a cemetery with a view of the South Pacific – not a bad final resting place.
Periodically we had to stop along the trail because a sleepy tortoise with a mouth full of food was crossing the path.
We all loved seeing these gentle giants who seem to not have a care in the world.
The stood still watching us as we stood watching them – simple scenes that will forever be etched into our minds. I love the texture of their legs and feet.
We cycled up hills and slightly down hills, through small areas of shade, and very large areas of intense sun,
and after several miles came to what is know as ‘The wall of tears.’
This wall, El Muro de las Lagriimas, was built between 1945 and 1959 by prisoners on the island. It is about 65ft tall and 300ft long, and caused thousands of deaths during it’s pointless construction which separates nothing from nothing at all.
Prisoners were allowed no water or rest and very little nourishment and had to cut, haul and build the wall from a lava rock quarry which was a long walk away. It’s construction was simply a form of punishment meant to cause absolute misery, and many have said they can hear cries from the dead when in the area.
After leaving wall of tears we cycled to a lava tube,
which had beautiful clear water in it. Tiny stalactites hung from the ceiling which had orange, white and brown colors of rock flowing through it.
Close by, a rocky area seemed to a local hangout for marine iguana.
They blend in so well with the rock that at times I’ll sit to takes photos and accidentally almost sit on one.
They look majestic yet comical at the same time, with their constant little smirk on their faces.
Once back on our bikes, we cycled along until we reached the outskirts of town once again.
This time we walked a path to some lagoons where flamingo frequent.
The water was an interesting color from algae, but neither the iguana nor the flamingoes seemed to mind it.
Flamingoes are the beautiful salmon color due to their diet of shrimp. Were it not for shrimp, they would be grey in color.
By the time we returned the bikes to the rental place, we had worked up an appetite and were thoroughly exhausted. (Even though Aidan still had energy to skateboard)
We relaxed for lunch then made our way back to the dinghy to return to Tanda Malaika. A cast of bright orange crabs stood out on their little lava islands, surrounded by the beautiful blue water. (Did you know a group of crabs is called a cast?!)
As we dinghy back, Mycah spotted what she has been hoping to see this entire time…..PENGUINS!!!!
Such cute little guys standing so proudly in their tuxedos looking out over the water.
It has been so amazing to witness such incredible beauty here in these islands. Such a wide variety of animals in their natural habitat – roaming free just as they should be.