San Cristobal Galapagos Islands: Part 4
Part of the concept of the VolunTravel concept, is travel! During my last week in the Galapagos, I was persuaded to check out two of the other islands, Santa Cruz and Isabela. I bought my ticket for the ferry, thinking it was going to be a decent size ship since it was over a two hour ride.
My friend Ashley warned me that I should buy some sea sickness pills… she informed me the ferry boats are quite small, and only hold about 15 people! I was surprised, so we went to the pharmacy, and I splurged .80 cents on 4 sea sickness tablets. I am sure glad I did, on the first ferry ride to Santa Cruz, 2 people got sick 🙁
On Monday morning I headed west on Santa Cruz. I was only there for a few hours, a lay over if you will. I was tired and hot, so I just grabbed a nice lunch, walked around a bit, had an ice cream, and just sat at the harbor and watched the boats come in and out. I took the ferry over to Isabela that afternoon, and the poor boy next to me from Argentina was green in the face! I gave him a plastic bag I had, because he needed it. He was one of 4 people to get sick on this ferry ride, a much more choppy ride than the morning. I arrived into Isabela around 5pm. I met a nice lady from Switzerland on the ferry named Nadya. We had booked different hostals, but met up for dinner.
All the restaurants close at 9pm, so it was an early night for both of us. We made a plan of exploring for the next day. Tuesday came, and with rented bicycles we checked out the turtle breeding center, the lake with flamingos, snorkeled with penguins, iguanas, and sea lions in Concha de la Playa, and rode over 6km past wild tortoises to the wall of tears. Isabela is a sleepy island of only 2,000 inhabitants, but it’s the largest island by land mass in the Galapagos. After a long day of playing Charles Darwin, we hit up happy hour. We sat on a deck, and I kept feeling something wet on the back of my leg. I thought we had spilled a drink and it was leaking through the deck. After a few minutes, a black iguana poked his head out! I then realized the wetness I felt on the back of my leg was actually the iguana spitting on me… ewwwww.
Most people come to Isabela for the famous Tunnels tour, which we were booked to do on Wednesday. Since we were booked on separate boats, we said our goodbye. I am thankful that I met Nadya. Possibly the worst part of traveling alone, is eating alone. I always enjoy good company while having a meal. The Tunnels tour did not disappoint! The boat ride deserves it’s own blog, but I will just say our boat flipped up on one side, causing all the bags and some people to fall over to the other side, and I swear we almost flipped over.
On the Tunnels tour, we swam with sea turtles, sea horses, white tipped reef sharks, penguins, rays, it was the best snorkeling tour I have ever been on in regards to the amount of marine life we encountered. Besides coming to visit my friend Ashley, swimming with penguins was the top reason I wanted to visit the Galapagos. I was so excited to see those cute little guys zooming past me in the water!
Also on my tour where a couple of Spaniards, Manel and Javier. We were all staying at La Jungla, so we decided to go hit up the town that night. Oh man, so many Pilsners! First we went to happy hour and met up with a couple composed of an Ecuadorian lady and a Scottish man, and their incredibly cute daughter. Following a few cervezas, we ate an delicious BBQ dinner. After dinner, the couple and their daughter headed in for the night. Manel, Javier, and I headed back to the place with happy hour, and they were out of beer… seriously?! Yep. So, just two doors down was the disco. We headed in, had a couple more Pilsners, danced, watched the rest of the Gringos pour in, then walked home just after midnight.
I was a little worried about my 6am ferry ride back to Santa Cruz, but I actually slept the whole way! While on Santa Cruz I walked the hour to Tortuga Bay. I used this time to reflect on the memories I had of my Grandpa Herb, as he was laid to rest on this day. I sat solitary on an empty beach. Thoughts of him being reunited with my Grandma and my sister were comforting. I also realized that I only had a few more days left in the Galapagos. Leaving a place where that you have connected with is always hard.
My last few days on San Cristobal were a whirlwind. I volunteered a bit more at the organic farm, attended a wedding, went to the beach, partied until 5am, played with my favorite dogs, made empanadas with Lucia, ate my favorite street food papipollo, and enjoyed my time with Ashley and Alex. I really can’t thank them enough for everything. My fantastic Galapagos experience is because of them, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Now, I look forward to 5 weeks in the Ecuadorian Amazon.