Oh Galapagos – Book I

First of all, if you get the movie title reference to the name of this blog entry, that means you are old like me, ha ha! 

So after our spring break visit of family and friends (see blog entry below), Vickie, Ethan and I decided at the last minute to head to the Galapagos for a few nights on Isabela Island for our second week of spring break.  Yep, they give you two down here.  We’ll miss that next year for sure.   In June we will return to the Galapagos with Courtney and Meghan for a one week boat tour, but we will not be going to Isabela, and I was looking forward to seeing some of the island’s unique features, so we decided to go there for a few days. 

Isabela is the largest and youngest island in the archipelago (1 million years old) and has the second largest active volcano crater in the world (20 kilometers in diameter).  Amazingly, the entire crater was a giant pool of bubbling lava back in 2005.  It was wild to walk around this thing and watch the steam rise off the cracks of the hardened rock.  The moon-like landscape of the recent lava flows, lava tubes, and rock formations were very impressive.

On the waterfront side, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to swim with some large sea turtles, manta rays, penguins, and some very playful sea lions.  See the video at the bottom for some of the fun we had with the sea lions.  You may spot Ethan trying to dive to catch them – no easy feat!  We stayed at the small and lovely Casa de Marita which sits on a white sand beach with crystal clear blue water.  Add the waves (and surfers) to the mix, and you have a recipe for relaxation and some fun to boot. 

Since we’ve now adjusted to the very temperate climate of Quito, the heat of the island (no worse than anything one might experience in July or August back home) hit us like a ton on bricks.  Our bodies have really gotten used to low 70s weather every day, so getting back to some real heat took a full, sweaty day.  Fortunately, we found a small restaurant with a soft-serve ice cream machine which hit the spot perfectly…and hourly.  It was a very nice visit, and we’re looking forward to returning to the islands in June.

Walking Around Los Tintoreras Park Just off Isabela

There’s Never a Shortage of Marine Iguanas to Keep You Company

White Tip Reef Sharks Hang Out in a Natural Tidal Tunnel to Stay Warm

Three Very Large Sea Turtles Hanging Out in Lagoon Nearby

Vickie and Ethan with Our Hotel and Beach in the Background

There were a Lot of Sand Volcanoes Made that Week

Sunset Over the Cerro Azul Volcano

Walking an Amazing Boardwalk through the Mangroves to a Lagoon with Great Snorkeling

There Goes a Sea Turtle (4 Feet in Diameter)

There were Lots of Puffers

And HUGE Schools of Smaller Fish

The Sea Lions Loved to Hang Around and Play — Close!

Underwater Too!

Of Course they Mostly Just Like Lying Around in the Sun All Day

We also had a Playful Penguin that Swam with us for a While

OK, So They’re Blue, but do you Have to Call Me a Booby?

The Iguanas are Actually Pretty Good Swimmers!

Ethan and Vickie in a Tidal Pool off our Hotel Beach

Looking Out Over the 20KM Expanse of the Sierra Negra Volcano

Hiking Around the Lava Flows

Ethan Next to a Lava Tube — Some were 20 Feet High

A Darwin Finch Says “Hello”

Walking to the Airplane — Isla Tortuga is on the Left

A Little Video — Above and Below the Water