(Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela, Galapagos)
I hate to read a traveller’s account carrying on in an and then, and then bragging fashion, but there’s really no better way to wrap up todays happenings.
First thing in the morning we set out, surfboards in hand, to ride some Galapagonian waves. Clean waves they were not, although they did the trick. Amongst the messy beach breakers, Greg was able to source out a point-ish style peeler off a submerged reef which brought him hours of contentment. Wave quality aside, our new friends from Eventide say they spotted penguins and sea lions in the waves beside them – a not so common surfing score. There was even a surfer beach hut that brought so many good feelings of ski chalets to mind I was near to ordering a hot chocolate before I came back to my sweating senses. The hut was perfect to leave our stuff at, and made a great escape from the sun when I eventually bowed out of the water leaving one point ahead of the waves. Three waves caught for Kaycee. Two times Kaycee caught for the waves.
and then we walked along a raised boardwalk over inland salt ponds to get to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center. A 20 minute walk that was more than enough on its own. While the salt ponds look like gross, festering sloughs they are so foreign to me they elicit interest anyhow. We also got to ponder the presence of cactuses and steer clear of the little poisonous apples that fall from the native trees – which happen to be the staple diet of the upcoming tortoises.
and then we got to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center and saw some big ass turtles. The initial Adam and Eves of this facility were saved from the surrounding lands where their populations were nearing extinction due to introduced species like rats. Here in the breeding center they raise the tortoises up to an age where they can survive in the wild. In the wild these tortoises weren’t making it past the eggshell. Creatures as small as ants (also an introduced species) were decimating the babes before they had a running chance. We saw tortoises of all ages, ranging from tea cup sized five-year olds to golf cart sized 150 year olds. They were all there, and by the looks of things, they were striving. Fun fact, giant tortoises live only on islands.
and then we jumped a fence to get back out to the main road to walk up to the quarry where we were promised there would be flamingos. And flamingos there were! Now I think I’ve seen flamingos ages ago in a zoo somewhere, but there’s nothing to prepare you for seeing a flamingo in the wild. Their alarmingly pink bodies stick out in the dull landscape like my Dad in a church. Shocking. It brings out a sort of childish glee that can only be expressed through pointing and gawking.
and then we stopped back in at the Booby Trap – our local haunt with the ever friendly owner Jim, good eats, and great (for island standards) wifi – to visit our friends from Eventide to make a plan for tomorrow morning’s departure. We even found time to devour one of Jim’s deadly brownies topped with the always coveted ice-cream. As they say, life’s uncertain, eat dessert first!
and then we wandered home passing by the sunbathing locals that line the dinghy dock. Horny-faced, belly-dragging iguanas who exude complete indifference to our presence, obviously far to busy with whatever it is they do all day to bother bothering about us. And their affable partners in lounging, the sea lions. Also belly draggers.