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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Lamest Tour Ever

October 15, 2014

Last night Dave got quite ill.  He though he might have a kidney stone that had gotten infected.  He was in a lot of pain and was running a very high fever.  Fortunately we had antibiotics with us.  By this morning he was still sick but the fever wasn't nearly as high.  None the less, he was in no shape to go with Melissa, Mike, and Holly on today's trip to Isla Isabella. 

All the islands here in the Galapagos are supposed to offer different wildlife.  So we were looking forward to seeing new kinds of critters.  

First a word about the Ecuadorians attempt to keep each of the islands pristine and not introduce any foreign animals or plants.  Trying to keep the islands as a safe haven for the animals that are there for future study would seem a worthy goal.  However, their execution is utterly lame.  We get in line for the ferry where in theory our backpacks are supposed to be searched.  They ask us to open the backpacks - so we open one compartment (these backpacks have 6 to 10 compartments each).  They peer into the one compartment and ask whether we have any plants or animals.  We say no.  They then close the one compartment they looked into, and get out a big yellow zip tie and start to zip tie the compartment shut.  But wait, that's the compartment with the camera.  So we ask if they can zip tie some other compartment shut.  Sure thing, no problem.  So they zip tie a compartment they haven't even looked in.  As lame as this is, realize its even lamer because yesterday we were allowed onto the dock without being searched because we weren't going to another island - only getting on the dive boat and then coming back to the same port.  So in theory we could have been carrying seeds of any sort with us, and handed them to someone with a half-assed sealed backpack once we were past security.  Yes, I suppose that maybe all this is for show to emphasize the importance of not taking stuff across.  Because as an actual security process its just silliness.

We boarded the ferry, and after a two hour ride across, the guide met us on the other side.    Lots of iguanas wandering around everywhere.

We hopped in cabs and headed off to see the flamingos.  A 5 minute ride from town the taxi's pulled over next to a giant gravel pit.  Inside which were some flamingos.

Then back in the taxi's to the turtle preserve where the guide hustled us through the facility, reading us the signs that were already in English.  This is him holding a turtle egg.

 

The goal of this facility is to repopulate the tortoise population - devastated by volcanic eruptions.  A tortoise released into the wild at 6 years of age will almost always live to adulthood.  So they keep them here when they are little and their shells are soft - when they are most vulnerable to being eaten by the giant rats that live here. 

They have several different varieties here.  Note how these have shells that look like they were squashed flat.

Then they drove us back to the pier and let us wander around for an hour.  This was basically a waste of time as there was little to do at the pier.  And finding a place to sit could be a challenge as these guys thought they owned the place.

Then it was back in the taxis for a trip to the restaurant where we were given 20 minutes to eat our lunch.  While at lunch another person in the group realized he had left his camera in the taxi. They called the taxi and the driver said no problem he had the camera and would bring it back.  Alas it never showed up.  Later they called him again and this time he claimed he never found it.  The guide seemed unbothered by this and wouldn't pursue it - despite the fact that the couple was on their honeymoon and all their honeymoon pictures were on the camera.  They begged to just get the memory card back.  Alas it never showed up.

Then back in the taxis to go back to the pier where we boarded another panga over to the other side of the bay (100 yards away) where we were told we could snorkel.  Melissa and Holly opted out - having frozen half to death in the cold water yesterday.  The rocks here are from a lava flow - and the rocks are actually super interesting.  You might have thought the guide might tell us something about them.

It was a pretty bay though.

Then it was back on the panga to the other side of the bay again to where we got to see some sharks stuck in a trench.  Then back to the ferry to go back to Santa Cruz Island.

We did get to see some cool creatures.  But all in all, it was a pretty lame tour.

 

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