Galapagos part 2

Tue 1 Apr 2014 16:29
We got brave and left the boat in the care of other cruisers to go on a trip to visit three of the other islands. So strange to travel by motor boat  instead peacefully sailing, but dolphins and Storm Petrels kept us company on the way. 

Wreck Bay anchorage, seen through the spray of the motor boat.

Bottle Nose Dolphins alongside.

Storm Petrels keep up with the speed boat.

All these islands are volcanic. Basically there's a hot spot under the crust here, and every few millennium it erupts, pushing up another island. Because the plate is slowly moving towards the South East (3cm a year...) then the new eruption creates a new island, with the oldest ones to the East and the newer ones to the West. We climbed the second biggest active crater in the world, looking into its 10km diameter, we followed lava tunnels down the sides, feeling the hot breath of the volcano as it flowed through the tunnels, we saw giant tortoises with different shaped shells, just as Charlie boy did (Darwin that is), marvelling at how they had adapted to the different environments on the various islands.  

Volcan Sierra Negra 

Volcan Chico

Inside a lava tunnel.


When we were snorkelling we were accompanied by White Tip Reef Sharks, Green Turtles, Sting Rays, Galapagos Penguins and the ever present playful sea lions, swimming right up to us to include us in their games. Marine iguanas sneezed salt from their noses whilst they recharged their batteries lying on the too-hot-to-sit-on black rocks and lazily swooshed their tails to swim on the surface of the sea.


The visibility isn't great but here's a clip of a dozen or so sharks in an underwater lava tunnel:

and here's some sea lions playing with me - you can spot my flippers and knee so you can tell how close he was:



Marine Iguana swimming.

On Santa Cruz we walked along a stunning pristine white powdery sand beach, with big blue breakers rolling in, then came around the headland to a sheltered bay. There, if you paddle in the knee deep water, baby sharks, just a few feet long, come swimming around you, such perfect miniature copies of their less cute big brothers. On Isabella we even saw Flamingoes, sharing a lake with what looked remarkably like Moor Hens! 

Here's a clip of these baby sharks in the shallows:

and here they are along with a sea lion off the pier that evening:


We got back to find Lochmarin was just fine, batteries still at 100% due to our wind turbine and solar panels. Poor Southern Cross didn't have such a joyful homecoming. The sea lions had found their way past the barricades and, despite the other cruisers best efforts, had made themselves at home on their catamaran. They had even inhabited the dinghy, which was hanging up behind the boat on davits - that must have been quite a jump. Four litres of bleach and much scrubbing later Southern Cross is still not quite the lady she was and Peter and Catherine are taking turns at watches during the nights, armed with a 12ft prodding stick, to repel invaders... I'm rather glad we have a high transom!

This video shows sea lions aren't as cute as they first appear to be: