Another Island

January 7, 2009
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As we left the Samba, the wheels were turning. We had had four days on San Christobal but only two days of “stuff”. Was there more to do? Could we double back to Santa Cruz? If we did, would we be able to change our flights back to the mainland?

As it happens, our guide on the Samba was returning to Puerto Ayora after our cruise. We talked about our options as we shared a taxi back into town. He suggested Isabella but the diving situation there is uncertain and, really, I had already committed us to dive Kicker Rock from San Christobal. No time for both. He agreed that there really wasn't much else to do on San Chrisobal but he highly recommended diving Floreana. That would have to be done from Santa Cruz. To fit the schedule, it would have to be done on the 10th and, to meet flying after diving recommendations, we would need to get on the previously full 12:30 flight from Baltra. At the second dive shop, the one everyone recommends but we could never get scheduled in, we hit paydirt. The had a trip to Floreana scheduled for the 10th and exactly two spots available. They even called up airline and got our flight changed from San Christobal to 12:30 from Baltra. We had a plan and it was good.

But first we had to get San Christobal. This wasn't too bad. Just the usual third world adjustments. The 1:30 ferry actually left at 2:07 and the two hour trip actually took a bit more than two and half. But, by the end of the day, we had what we needed. A hotel. A dive plan and bikes ready to go for the next day's adventure. Our neighbors, the bachelor colony of sea lions, were OK too.

The next morning we set out early (to beat the heat) riding the 18K climb to the 1000ft crater lake. It didn't sound that hard but, on rented bikes, I ended up walking several sections. Glenn did a bit better but even he walked a few. We started with overcast skies, then fog, then mist. At the top, it rained. We could see the lake from standing on the shore, but we didn't have much of a view. A pair of photos immortalized the adventure but they are on Glenn's camera. You won't see them attached to this message.

The town here a bit different from Puerto Ayora. Smaller, slower, and the sharp division between local and tourist town is more of a subtle blend here. Sea lions own the waterfront. I like it but it can be a little frustrating in the evenings. Most shops and restaurants are closed before 9:00pm. Despite a great deal of construction intended to spruce up the town, a significant number of shuttered businesses suggests that things are not going so well.

photo of male Galapagos sea lion
Today we went to Kicker Rock. This is the diver's reason to visit San Christobal. Alas, it was not a good day for the rock. Quite murky. That's the dilemma of Galapagos diving. The algae blooms that create the aquatic wonderland often make it difficult to see. We did see several galapagos sharks. Large, distant, unclear. photo of Kicker Rock
The large ray was very close but with the available light, that photo needed a flash. And I think the flash needed the diffuser plate that disappeared along the way. Oh well. If I wanted predictability, I'd go to Disneyworld.

Tomorrow is another travel day. We will be getting up very early to catch a 7:00am ferry back to Santa Cruz.

photo of marble ray