position S00 57.930 W90 57.719

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Sun 20 Aug 2017 04:18

Sat 19th August

The water taxi arrived this morning spot on time, so dinghy stayed with OR. We were picked up from the pier by lorry bus (the type with bench seats and open sides) and after doing the rounds of the hostals to collect more tourists, we were rattled up to the end of the road to Sierra Negra. This is the southern-most volcano of a chain of 4 main volcanos forming the spine of the island. You get a geology lesson with any Galapapos tour so we know well that the Galapagos plate is driving eastward under the south american plate at a rate of  7cm per year. The hot spot under the plate that creates volcanoes however is stationary so as the older eastern islands gently subside into the sea, newer western islands such as Isabella have higher peaks and more recent volcanic activity.  Sierra Negra last erupted in 2005.  

Having previously experienced only mist and drizzle on our highland walks we were surprised to be dropped off in bright warm sunshine above the clouds. The walk up to  the rim of Sierra Negra is a gentle uphill stroll along a wide Gua
va tree lined path. Guava is one of the hated introduced species of plant along with blackberry that suffocate more modest endemic plants and trap poor little tortoises. I tried to ask the guide is there is a specific date that defines endemic as everything has been introduced over time but either my question or the answer wasn't understood.  If anyone would care to research I would love to know. The view from the rim is breathtaking- a 10km wide cauldron of  black lava enclosed inside a green steep sided perfectly round bowl. A blow hole on the north side with a run of darker lava evidence of the latest activity.
The walk continues down the outside of the rim to an area where side vents have spewed more recent smooth black lava over the older coffee coloured boulders. The path winds around deep fern lined chasms and as we ate our snacks on a natural lava bench the sun  picked up midday heat and we began to think fondly of the cool mizzle of Cerro Croker.  Climbing back up to the rim a generous italian girl concerned at my lobster face kindly offered me some of her sun block. I should say I as wearing my hat and the colour was mostly due to effort rather than sunburn. Chatting with fellow spanish, italian and english cookies the return path was all too quickly  done and we were soon back in town for a late lunch in our now regular $6 set menu restaurant.

We dithered about another boat/snorkle tour tomorrow but with cash running low (and no atm to plunder) we decided to postpone any purchase and see what we could discover in our bay with the dinghy. One of the recommened snorkle spots is only a few 100 yards from our anchorage.