Published: July 13th 2010July 12th 2010
We flew in to Santa Cruz with no accommodation or any plans, just a vague idea that we wanted to see lots and do lots. Within a couple of hours we managed to find a hotel within our budget ($25/night) and had booked ourselves on a day trip to Floreana the next day, two days of diving after Floreana and a three day/two night tour to Isla Isabela to end. Plan.
For the rest of the first day we took a stroll through the main road in Peurto Ayora. The sea was crystal clear giving the illusion of a warm Caribbean sea, we soon found out the next day that it isn’t. We’re in the middle of the Pacific and although the water is warmer than British waters, it can still turn you blue! The cool thing that strikes you though is the number of Sea Lions just chilling by the side of the pavement and the number of birds flying around your head. Blue Footed Boobies, Pelicans and others (should’ve taken a bird book).
The islands are quite barren in places and being volcanoes, some young and active, there’s a lot of lava around. In fact it’s quite
1 Welcome to the Galapagos
This was the first encounter of many. Within ten minutes of arriving we saw this.
strange seeing uneven hardened lava right next to peoples houses. In land and further up it becomes lush, almost jungle, with massive bell shaped flowers about the size of footballs hanging everywhere.
The diving stole the show however. We did six dives over the two days, five of them around Gordon’s Rocks. You have to be an experienced diver as the conditions are quite difficult, the first day showed us just how difficult. We kitted up and perched on the side of the boat on the sheltered side of the rocks, the boat then moved to the exposed side where we were bobbing up and down over five to six foot waves. After a count of three we all backward rolled in to the water and immediately descended. At some points the currents were so strong you had to cling to the rocks and pull yourself along, there is no way you can swim against them. It did cross your mind what would happen if you slipped and let go. Whiz off never to be seen again? Maybe.
Other than testing our diving skills, the wild life was out of this world. We saw so many turtles we
lost count after 20. The Marbled Rays, Eagle Rays, White Tip Reef Sharks were all out in force. Three encounters however will be etched on our memories forever. In no particular order..
The first is swimming with hammerhead sharks. The first day with a school of around 10 - 15 of them, there could’ve been more but that was all we could see. The second day we got so close to a couple of them, just a matter of meters. They are so strange looking but beautiful nonetheless.
The second was also on the first day, a sea lion found us. He stayed with us for around 20 minutes and was swirling and swimming all around us. It was just like playing with a water puppy. Such a fabulous experience. We wanted bring him home with us, he was just amazing.
On the last day, after descending not quite to the bottom we went off in to the blue to find some sharks. It’s weird being totally surround by blue, it can be quite disorientating. After not seeing any sharks we started back to the wall, just as we were approaching a 5-6m Manta Ray came gliding
3 Marine Iguanas
We took a stroll down the main street in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz and saw these guys just by the water.
around the corner. It’s so overwhelming there is little to do other then just watch and try to take in the view. It’s difficult to believe that there are giant creatures like this in the sea.. it’s the stuff of movies.
Six dives with all the travelling was exhausting, we were in bed before 9pm each night. No rest for the wicked though, we were booked on to the three day tour as of the next day.
First three days in the Galapagos rocked!
There are more photos below