Santa Cruz (Galapagos) –
We get up and start packing – we have to leave early this morning. After having a short breakfast we make our way to the dive center. From here we continue by taxi to the narrow strait of Baltra. The equipment is already on the boat there.
On the way we chat a little with the two women who are accompanying us and it turns out that they emigrated here. The topic about the enormous price differences to the mainland is especially interesting: The people on Galapagos can afford the prices because they also earn more here. As far as the tourists are concerned, it seems however, that the masses are only partly kept away. We also get some advice for the planning of our last day on the island. Jill suggests to stop at a bakery on the way. The best sweet pastries of the island are said to be available here. I won’t say no to this as well . We two buy all kinds of things for the divers and the crew – it feels like there is everything you could wish for in sweet cakes and pastries.
Our boat is already waiting for us at the ferry port to Baltra. Altogether we seem to be 10 people plus captain – so it’s quite relaxed. After a short introduction we split into 2 groups. One more experienced diver and one having done fewer dives are a buddy team. Alright.
We make a short stop at the coast to put on the equipment and do a buoyancy check in the water. We adjust our weights and then we head straight for Gordon Rock.
Another dive boat is already at the spot in the west. Our first group goes overboard there as well, whereas our group will visit the eastern part separately for the first dive – many divers means lots of bubbles, which keeps away the sharks we actually want to see.
The roll into the water must happen simultaneously here, so that we can descend quickly and are not carried away by the current at the surface.
The first dive is quite moderate. Unfortunately we have rather bad visibility thanks to lots of particles in the water. But we are getting to see quite some things – just the sharks are avoiding us – a few hammerhead sharks and galapagos sharks can be seen, but only schematically below us.
After a break and a snack we get ready for the second scuba dive.
This time our group goes in first and we change the spots. We seem to have more luck in the west – here, some sharks get quite close, but change course just a few meters in front of us…
Altogether not quite the “world class diving” we had hoped for, but somehow the weather and the current play a big influence in what you get to see…
Lunch! My stomach growls. One of the guides pulls out a box with tupperware.
The chattering Americans having a “Vegan” pictogram as tattoos get their greens first. Then Ena – gluten-free. “No tomatoes” shouts the guide… I look confused – nobody answers – “Guess that’s me” I say and reach for the Tupperware. All I had said was that I don’t like tomatoes (all the others don’t have tomatoes in their food either)!
“Finally!”, says the guide, “Food for normal people!” and hands over the remaining bowls to the group . For dessert there are the cinnamon buns and the coconut rolls which are still left from our bakery shopping tour.
We stop at a small bay and relax a little while swimming and lying on the beach. As usual here on Galapagos there are also sea lions close to the beach who are interested in us newcomers.
Back at the hostel we walk through the shirtshop – weren’t the prices for the hand-painted shirts yesterday 5 USD cheaper? Is the high season starting now ?
We have a short rest and make our way towards Darwinstation afterwards. Here, we are allowed to go into a small air-conditioned room with a small group for ~5 minutes. Expecting to have actually entered a breedig chamber for turtles, the view of what is behind the window in the darkened area is a little bit… strange/creepy. We have apparently entered the mausoleum of Lonesome George…
We use the rest of the day to swim on the beach in front of the station and doze off a little under the trees.
Then we head back towards the center to drop off our laundry for washing and exchange photos at the dive center and get a stamp in the logbooks.