Visiting Isla Santa Cruz in the Galápagos Archipelago

Bahia Tortuga (continued)

 
Marcie and David on the beach, where Marcie stopped to take a picture. To Marcie's left you can see a black dot on the sand, in about the middle of the picture. This is a marine iguana; the right-hand picture is a close-up.

 
Surf crashing on an outcrop of volcanic rocks.   Marine iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks.

 
Another marine iguana. This one looked almost emaciated—it was hollow-chested with folds of loose skin.  


 
Tracks made by a sea turtle.  


 
This part of the beach is protected from the wild surf; it's where we went swimming.  

We had wanted to go swimming and snorkeling but the surf here was too rough. The guidebook mentioned another beach on the other side of a low rocky peninsula that blocked the incoming swell, so we walked over to the protected beach. Along the way, Marcie and David saw an octopus in the shallow water next to the peninsula.

The protected beach was very peaceful, with only a slight swell sneaking around the point which produced no surf at all. There was a white sand beach with small trees above the high-water mark. This seemed to be a more popular spot for swimming and there were a couple dozen local folks, mostly families with children, enjoying the water and the beach. We picked out a spot and hung up our gear in a small tree to keep our daypacks out of the sand.

The water was very warm and quite pleasant; it was also a little murky from algae. We tried snorkeling but it was a bust—visibility was poor and you could see only a few feet. While wading through the water, I saw a dinner-plate-sized black ray near the surface. There were lots of tiny fish and at one point a school of six-inch-long fish streamed through. Unfortunately, there were also very pesky biting sand flies that could draw blood.

After our dip in the ocean we toweled dry and walked back the same way we came. Along the paved walkway we stopped to rest at a picturesque gazebo set amidst the wild Galápagos desert scenery. While we were resting, several people walking back from the beach stopped by and we struck up a conversation. They spoke English and turned out to be a couple of Americans (father and son) plus the son's Ecuadorian wife. The son and his wife live in Quito and grow flowers for export to the American market (via air-freight to Miami). Exporting flowers is a big business in Ecuador.

Once we got back to the guardhouse, we signed-out and walked back to Puerto Ayora. Marcie and David stopped in-town for some refreshments but I was sloppily dressed and uncomfortable after the walk so I returned to the boat. On their way back, Marcie and David rented dive equipment and David finished the propeller repairs in the afternoon.

That evening, Marcie made a delicious dinner of chicken and rice. As an after-dinner treat we were going to watch a DVD, but though it was only 7:45 p.m. we all decided we were pooped and went to bed. It was a very rewarding day—beautiful, exotic, unspoiled scenery, practically all to ourselves—a real treat.


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