Isabela (Galapagos) –
We get up at half past seven and crawl out of the room half an hour later to have breakfast. Directly after that we take a taxi to the bay “Concha de Perla”. We read that you should show up very early in the morning before the tide comes… and the other tourist boats. After all, you can also make day trips from Santa Cruz to Isabela.
The bay is a stone’s throw away from the boat dock, but appears very secluded. It is extremely beautiful here. From a jetty you can enter the water. However this is already quite occupied… by sea lions. But we arrange ourselves quite well and jump alternately into the water (Mario brought all his camera equipment ).
Apart from the sea lions and us, we also meet a 5-person family from the city of Aachen. Two teachers who have “liberated” their 8-, 10- and 13-year-old kids from school for one year and travel with them through South America by caravan. Extremely cool, the kiddies are still being taught and will probably gain a lot more experience this year than they could at school. The three are also quite cheerful and talk happily about their experiences .
Now we can finally swim with some playful sea lions, encounter iguanas in the water and even spot some turtles. The Galapagos penguins that are often seen in the Concha de Perla are not here yet – maybe they will show up when the tide is high?
Slowly the footbridge fills up with more people, but it is still relaxed.
I lie down with the sea lions on the bench at the pier to warm up again. The water is quite cold here around the islands. But before that I embarrass myself again by stealing the towel from another German girl which is hanging over the railing. Why do all Germans have to always buy their stuff at Decathlon ? Another woman sees me grabbing my almost identical towel hanging just two meters apart and has to laugh: “I see how you got confused”
We stay for quite a while. The seals play in the volcanic channel under the mangroves. Some lizards join them. At the back of the bay I discover a huge turtle while snorkeling. I should really get used to taking the camera with me from time to time. This is a very relaxed “day at the beach”.
The way back over the footbridge is a challenge, because the seals are blocking our way again. They seem to laugh at me as I climb over the balustrade and walk past them through the mangroves. Safety first. We snatch a taxi back to the hostel. A little break, then back to the city. We still want to go to the turtle breeding station.
We decide to walk to it. Past the village lake… here you sometimes should be able to see flamingos. But at the moment they seem to have flown out. We also read that you have to be extremely lucky to encounter them. Oh well. We walk a bit further along the beach and then to the right along a nice little stilt path towards “Centro de Crianza”.
Our luck seems to get bigger on the way, because from small lake to small lake along the jetty we see more and more flamingos. We walk for about half an hour until we reach the breeding station. I have now definitely deserved an ice cream .
Each of us having an ice cream, we take a look at the station. Each population consists of 4 males and females. They are kept in the breeding station for a few years before being released into the wild. The wilderness has become dangerous for the young turtles. While 300 years ago they could crawl through the area without being disturbed, now dangers like stray dogs and cats lurk on them.
We stroll back into town and have dinner in a restaurant near the beach. Not that much more expensive than in the kioskos we ate last night. I order fish, Mario Carbonara. It’s not bad.
After dinner Mario wants to take some photos. He chooses a nice place and places the VW bus and the Stormtroopers. Some people pass by and look at the scene with interest. One of them walks past us and… comes back again: “Sorry, but I have to ask: What are you doing?!?”. After two or three sentences I have to ask: “You’re German, aren’t you?”. We continue the conversation in German .*
We let the evening end in the “Casa Rosada”. But the cocktails are not that good today. The barkeeper overdid it with the Maracujas somewhat and we get some sort of slimy drink . Furthermore they now want us to pay 12 USD/Cocktail instead of 6 USD. No way! Yesterday it was 6 USD! It had not been a happy hour now… Such nonsense! We are here at the same time as yesterday! Again I am glad that I can discuss such things in Spanish by now. So we pay 6 USD .
Mario wants to take some photos of the Milky Way – but it’s cloudy. You have to reckon with that on the islands. It gets cloudy quickly.
We decide to walk back to the hotel as no taxi is to be seen…
In the hotel we meet the other Greek again, whom I wanted to fight for his passport when entering Galapagos. They have just arrived. His girlfriend is Swiss: So I chat with her in German, and Mario and him in Greek while our host looks at us as if we were all coming from the moon .
Tomorrow morning our boat leaves at 6:00 a. m. and we are picked up at 5:15 a. m. by the taxi. So we fall into bed early today.
*They are everywhere!