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Published: August 5th 2011
Isabela Island is the biggest island in size, and has the second biggest population. While all the other islands only have one big volcano in the middle, Isabela has five with lava flow in between creating three different types of habitat and species. We only stayed in the first part where the town is but we still got to see plenty of animals. We drove out of town to see some more marine iguanas and then climbed up to an overlook to get a view of the whole area. The Galapagos were first used as dumping grounds for criminals to get them out of the way and keep them busy. There were about 300 on Isabela and they were put to work building a wall out of lava blocks. Eventually there were only 27 left (the rest had dies from various causes) and they rose up against the policemen guarding them. They escaped to town and killed tons of the citizens there before stealing a ship and getting away. Next we went to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where they raise tortoises until 5 years old before releasing them back to their natural habitat. When the islands were first discovered the tortoises were killed in huge numbers for their shells, meat, and oil so now they are trying to rebuild the population. In the afternoon we went to a group of rocks where we saw basically every animal they have on the island. There were white-tip reef sharks, marine iguanas, the galapagos penguins, and sea lions. We also went snorkeling and saw more turtles as well as a huge manta ray. It actually scared me because I had looked up for a moment to see where my group was and when I looked back down it was right in front of me! Another incredible experience.
Today we went scuba diving! It was an optional activity and we had to miss the hike to the volcano but I thought it was worth it. We almost didn´t get to go because our guide hadn´t arranged it ahead of time like he was supposed to, but the 4 of us who wanted to go went to the dive shop and they agreed to take us. We got all fitted out in our thick wet suits and other gear before heading to Cuatros Hermanos, our first dive location. Right where we went down there were tons of red lobsters in the rock cracks and we saw one giant one hiding in a little cave. We also saw a small manta ray and a white-tip reef shark, which was exciting. I ended up having to go up before the rest since I was running low on air but they didn´t see anything else after I left and I got to enjoy the sun on the boat. The boat was very small, and rocking like crazy so all of us were in danger of getting sick, and the boat ride to the next location was incredibly bumpy and rough. At the next spot we saw two more mantas and a turtle swiming above us which was neat, with the sun shining down through the water on him. We were basically promised that we would see a hammer head shark, but no such luck. Despite that it was a lot of fun and I just love being under the water so I am glad I went. Another successful day and tomorrow we go to Santa Cruz.
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