Contents for The Galapagos
The next day we got up and had to meet at the hotel for breakfast at 7:15. We left straight after, with our bags readyfilled with all the necessary equipment for snorkelling. We got on a boat and rode out to little islands in the vicinity of San Cristobal. We had wet suits pre-donned, as the water wasn't that chilly, but after a while it could get cold. We got into the water and looked down.
The water was at times a bit murky, but I clearly saw thousands of fish, some camouflaged, some bright and colourful. I even saw a huge, light grey with a faint yellow stripe one that had teeth. That one freaked me out a bit, and I almost lost it when it began to swim towards me with it's mouth open, but then it took a turn and disappeared into the water.
I think the highlight of that snokell was when a seal came to see what we were doing, and decided that it quite liked swimming with us. I did a few flips in the water, and the seal did too, sometimes going the extra mile to show off and breaking out of the water like a dolphin. Eventually we had to get back on the boat, and reluctantly I left my newfound friend. We continued on, arriving to another rock. This one had a massive height, rising some hundred meters. The water here was a lot colder, but we saw just as many fish.
Soon into the snorkell however, visibility got bad and the water was very murky. During the last snorkell, the water was also infested with tiny squishies. A squishy, for those that haven't seen Finding Nemo, is a small little jellyfish. They were everywhere. And the little suckers stung you too.
But they were small, the bigger ones barely two centimeters long, so it wasn't that bad.
Besides the annoying little squishies infesting our snorkel area, there were also some sharks. Very small little ones, and very deep down below, but sharks nonetheless. As I wrote, the visibility was poor, and so I only saw a shadow below me, but I definitely did see a shark. There were also turtles in the area, but I did not see them while snorkelling, only saw their heads bopping up above the water from the boat. They were Pacific Green Sea Turtles if I am not mistaken. To go back to the movies, its the turtle in Finding Nemo. After that snorkell, it was time to go back to the dry land of the human living.
We didn't end the day there though, as we went to the Interpretation Center, which was stifling hot with no fans or A/C whatsoever in the building, later. In there Pablo talked about the history of the islands.
They are all volcanic, so I'm finding it safe to assume that everyone knows how they were formed. If not read my post on volcanoes.
The flora and fauna of the Galapagos can be put into three different categories: endemic, native and introduced. Introduced means humans brought the things in "unnaturally"; rats on boats, livestock etc. Native means the animals/plants found their own way there, although the exact same species can be found elsewhere in the world. Endemic means that the thing evolved to adapt to the environment, making it unique to the Galapagos, whether introduced or native at first. And of course, we talked of Charles Darwin who barely spent a month in the Galapagos and now has monuments erected in his honour all over the islands. The interpretation center taught me much more, but writing it all down would simply be tiring.
We had a free dinner that night. By free dinner I mean it was a non-organised meal. Every woman for herself. My Travel Companion and I paired up with Dennis and Gail and stopped by in one of the recommendations made by Pablo. The menu was huge, but in the end, out of all the fish and meat dishes, I chose vegetarian pasta... The galapagos are really, really fish and meat and barbecue centered.
The food took an hour and a half to reach our table. Literally. When we were done, the single waiter, who had to wait on at least thirty something people by himself (the poor guy was sweating so much), apologised and informed us there was only one chef in the kitchen, which was crazy because the menu had at least forty different local specialities, fish, had a chinese food section, pizza, pasta, and so much more. I wonder what happened for there to be only two guys working an entire restaurant.
That night we had to pack for the next island in the trip: Floreana, the island of mysteries.