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Published: November 18th 2019
Pirates and Painters Awoke in Tagus Bay on North West coast of Isabela Island, after a decent nights rest. The bay was fairly small with high hills all round. We were very surprised, and somewhat saddened to see white painted graffiti high up on the cliff faces, mainly boat names and some dates. Some of these were dated back to 1934, long before protection and regulation applied to the islands. Apparently this bay was a popular stop of for pirates and Whalers, as it was so sheltered. Still, the graffiti, which was very high up the cliff face, was totally alien to these beautiful islands. First expedition was a hike up past Darwin Lake, a highly saline body of water occupying a crater rim, high above sea level. The salinity precluded the existence of any fish. The views from the top were spectacular. This was followed by a slow panga ride along one of the cliff faces, giving us the opportunity to see, an photograph, Blue Boobies Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos black Hawk, and many other species, along with more sealions, pelican, and penguins.We then snorkelled off the Pangas again, an opportunity to see more penguins and sealions, and more turtles. The
snorkelling was more challenging because the water was colder, and the current stronger. Hard to get the head round cold water at the Equator, but this the influence of the Cromwell Current. Still not a patch on the North Sea though! The wetsuits were much appreciated though, as was the customary hot drink an Empanadas on return to the boat. We sailed up the coast a little to Punta Espanoza on Fernandino Island, during lunch, and took to the Pangas once more, to snorkel along a rocky coastline. This was amazing, with many turtles, sealions, and octopus, and the highlight, watching the much larger marine iguanas munching on underwater algae on rocks, then swimming gracefully back to shore. We followed this by a walk along the lovely sandy bay, lined by the now familiar lava fields. The marine iguanas literally carpeted the place and were virtually stacked on top of each other in places. They fought for space with the fur seals and sealions, and you literally had to watch every step or you would stand on one! Incredible spectacle. A whale skeleton completed the bizarre spectacle. By now (mid afternoon) the sun was getting hot, and we were glad
to retreat to the boat for a rest and some refreshing tea, with just a hint of sugar cane spirit, cinnamon and vanilla mixed in ! We set of further northwards before dinner as we had a long overnight voyage ahead, sailing round the northern head of Isabela, before heading back eastward toward Santiago Island and Buccaneers cove. Again the warning to stow everything safely in the cabin and to expect a rough night once we round the headland in the early hours. Once again our crew have been fantastic, working hard and long to ensure our comfort and happiness. They go about their business quietly in the background, but always with a smile and a pleasant greeting, whether in Spanish, or English. Muy bien y Buenos para todos. Or something similar. Been a very full day and everyone very tired, al heading to bed by 8.30. IBut then up again at 5.45, with no guarantee of sleep!
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