The Galapagos – Pt.11

The group in the lava tube, to give you an idea of proportion.

The morning started with the tough job of packing everything back into the suitcases, before going out in a bus to our last destination of the trip. First, we headed out to see a huge lava tube, like the one in the mountains on Isabella, only much much larger. It was a few kilometers long, but also very muddy inside, so we only went a few hundred meters in, just enough to admire its form. Unlike my previous encounter with a lava tube, I did not succumb to gravity.

The lava tube looked, to me, like some sort of man made grotto, with stalactites on the walls and moss only growing where the light sources were. As with the Lascaux cave, it was not really discovered by man, but by a wandering domesticated animal, in this case, a cow.

A female wild tortoise hiding from us. At least trying to.

We excited the tunnel and got back on the bus just as a huge monster of a truck arrived with a gigantic group of tourists, so talk about good timing! Our next place to visit was a national reserve that homed tortoises among other things. The cool thing about these tortoises was that they were wild, so we had to look for them, and if you approached too close they retreated into their shells and did that hissing noise. I heard the noise myself, and it's weird. It's almost like letting the air out roughly out of an air-pressurised container… I think?

We spotted two females, and a very large male that was disturbed by our presence and so decided to 'run' away. It must have been frustrating for him when we followed him and he didn't manage to lose us. He must have been in sixth gear, poor guy. We all took turns in approaching him slowly to get our photos, and then took a long walk, which I very much enjoyed, through the forest to get back to the bus. From there is was a straight line road to a pier from which we took a five minute ferry to Baltra Island.

Giant male tortoise

Baltra Island is a curious place. It is not a large island, and the only thing on it is a small airport. That is it. No towns, no homes, no nothing. So where do the people who work at the airport live you ask? On Santa Cruz I answer. They must take the ferry day and night. Speaking of ferries, the ferry was actually quite scary for me, because it was basically built of concrete, at least the roof was, and the inside was designed almost like a metro car. But the scary thing was the fact that our luggage was placed on the concrete roof and that was how it travelled. I kept expecting to see a big splash and lose some of our belongings to the 'fishes'. Nothing of the sort happened however.

Baltra Island Airport

As for when we had arrived, leaving was as effortless. We waited to be checked in and then went into the gate (no need to check which one, there's only one), and waited. Of course we said our goodbyes to our excellent guide Pablo. We boarded and My Travel Companion and I were seated with Rehana. Rehana and I had taken to playing cards at the airport, and we continued on the plane. We had quite a few heated battles. I'd say it was a draw, overall. (I actually completely lost…)

When we landed, we were greeted by another bus, only this one only took us to a hotel, and not tortoises. I was already missing the green scenery I had gotten used to as I was looking out at the streets of Quito. We got to the hotel and had our true farewell dinner early to accommodate those that had their returning flights later that night. We ate at a thai restaurant that had live music, and we all took turns saying which island we preferred, and what our favourite moment was.

As for me, I preferred Isabella, and my favourite part of the entire thing, was snorkeling and flipping in the water with the ever curious and playful sea lions. I'll miss everyone in the group, and I already miss the Galapagos scenery and fauna. Here's to never ending memories!

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