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Galloping to the Galapagos - Chapter Five

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 Isabela Island - Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove

Author’s note: Warning this may be TMI (too much information), if so skip to the next paragraph. All the drugs I received in Quito slowed my entire system to a snail’s pace. My digestive system stopped eliminating since I left the hospital. I skipped a number of activities (all of today’s activities) because I was miserable. We returned to Isabela. This time it’s Urbina Bay for snorkeling and a hike to the Darwin Crater Salt Lake.

The zodiacs delivered the group to the island to hike what was described as a climb of hundred stair steps up to the lake, then a hike to the vista.

On the way to the Lake there were more Iguanas and this Tortiose.


Author’s note: This lake is often featured in promotions for the Galapagos. At the mention of one hundred steps, I knew this was beyond me. Tom did it so I would have pictures. I would have never made it. Tom was exhausted and skipped the afternoon snorkel. Also, when we returned to Bonita from hikes there was sweet tea waiting for us on the upper deck. When we returned from snorkeling there was hot chocolate. We discovered we could show up for the hot chocolate or the sweet tea without participating in the activity.

After lunch as we returned to our cabin we found a Frigetbird sitting on the rail. He eyed us warily but was willing to pose for pictures.

The Frigetbirds often followed our yacht, flying in wavy lines above our heads.

Author's note: The first time I saw them in the distance, I immediately thought of the Bob Ross "M" birds that he often added to his paintings. Look them up. You'll see what I mean.

Thursday, December 3, 2020 Isabela Elizabeth Bay and Moreno Point

This morning we moved to a new location on Isabela: Bahia Elizabeth or Elizabeth Bay. Elizabeth Bay is a red mangrove bay full of all kinds of animals. Unfortunatly this video is typical of my pictures: fleeting shots that almost caught the critter. We saw sea lions, turtles, penguines and yellow stingrays.

We did some whale watching, but did not catch any on camera.

Next stop was Punta Moreno or Moreno Point, a lava rock island. It was very stark with very uneven footing. Our guide, Wilo, held my wrist the enitre walk to make sure I didn't fall.

Ostensibly we were looking for flamingos, but we only saw a couple. We saw sea lions sleeping on lava rocks.

Author's note: I can't imagine how they slept on those rocks. Their skin must be much tougher than I imagined!

Tom did the afternoon snorkel, but I skipped.

Friday, December 4, 2020

We woke up next to Las Tintoreras Islet which edges another lava rock island. Actually most of the islands in the Galapagos are lava islands of one sort or another.

Author’s note: Someone, more likely many some ones, created a flat lava cinder path through the island. This meant that it was easy walking as opposed to treacherous.

As we arrived on shore we found a very young sea lion whose mother was probably out looking for food.

Again, we walked a long way to see a few flamingos, but we also saw a group of white tip reef sharks resting in the bottom of a shallow cove. Of course iguanas and sea lions are everywhere.

That afternoon we went ashore to visit the Humedales Tortoise Breeding Center. Invasive species (specifically dogs, rats and pigs) have seriously challenged the nests of tortoises in the Galapagos. This sanctioned organization locates the nests, retrieves the eggs, hatches them and then releases them into the wild when the young tortoises are ready.

Author’s note: The process of raising these tortoises is fascinating. The eggs must be harvested and maintained in exactly the same position as they were laid or the embryo may detach and die. The tortoises are fed every two to three days so they don’t become dependent on the “human” food source. A tortoise is not considered viable in

the wild until they are at least five years old. What a commitment to saving this species!

Author's note: I don't think of tortoises as expressive, but these sure seem to have attitude!

Rescued Tortoises with distorted shells

We saw rescued tortoises including some rescued from a lava flow with shells that were distorted from the heat. We left the rescue center to walk a long boardwalk through the mangroves, finally arriving on the beach.

We settled into a restaurant for a drink as we watched the sunset, then returned for our last night on The Bonita.

That evening Wilo shared the amazing video he made of our adventures in the Galapagos on the M/Y Bonita Yacht!


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