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Equador’s islands

July 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

Usually known as Darwins islands or enchanted islands. Wreck Bay is named after the wreck in the bay not the state of sailors when they arrive. The local agent let the anchor settle before he came alongside to offer his services. Now we usually sort ourselves out with the formalities but here the rules dictate the use of an agent. So Bolivar was engaged. He told us we would have to stay on board until we had been inspected for swine fever. However, by the following morning and no navy visitors, Bolivar suggested we go ashore with him to complete formalities.

Where do you start in a place that is teeming with tame wildlife, the sealions lie on the back steps of boats, the pelicans dive so close to the boat you think something has dropped off the rails. Blue footed Boobies dive bomb for fish, pelicans fill their mouths in front of you, and big red crabs scurry to get out of your way. We take a walk to the interpretation centre, just out of town, very tasteful building with lots of extremely useful information, followed by a frigate walk, through the black volcanic boulders. Lizards dive out of your way, and then pose for a photo.
Sealion playing in the surf (link loads a video – suggest right click and open in new tab)

As we are not allowed to dive here without a guide (although you can snorkel) we sign up for a trip. Out to Kicker rock where hammerhead, Galapagos, and black tip sharks cruise, rays and snakes all to be seen in crystal clear water. David underwater with the sharks (link loads a video). We also saw some humpback whales in the distance. The snorkelling was done in a open bay where lots of bright coloured fish swim completely ignoring you, but what we hadn’t expected was the arrival of the sealions who came to play, they brought a stick another nosed up a sea urchin to play with, they swam so close you could touch them, they just had so much fun showing off, diving up and down in front of your nose. When they had had their fun off they went. They clearly wanted to come and play it was so much fun to see them so close. From the same bay there were male frigate birds with their huge red bibs keeping watch over their females, blue bobbies all around the rocks, not the least worried that we were so close.

We were invited to a birthday party, for a sailing lad now aged nine, he had invited other cruising children, what a great time they had, different nationalities all together.

Galapagos is famous for its giant tortoises, now there are various centres breeding them and getting them past the vulnerable early stages of their life. A trip to such a centre seemed in order, a taxi (4 x 4) was stopped, a price agreed up front and off we went. Now we had thought of hiring bikes for the trip I am so glad we didn’t, it was up hill, very hot and the road went on and on forever, then the centre was not signposted and we would probably have passed it. The other good thing about the taxi was the driver stopped at a lagoon where we could walk up the hill and watch frigates feed. Usually the frigates bully other birds for their food, but here they were fishing for themselves, only just putting their feet into the water to pick out the fish. Frigates fishing in the crater lake
Close up of the frigates (links load videos). . After our stop there on we went to the tortoise centre, the place was deserted and we had the tortoises all to ourselves, our driver acted as our guide, enthusiastically taking us to the best spots. Although the tortoises here are not as old as the ones at Isla Santa Cruz, it was lovely and quiet on our own.

We’re here in Wreck Bay it is a relaxed, tasteful tourist town, shops are not tacky or particularly expensive. The locals are very friendly and easy going. The weather is good, there are very clear skies just like Tiree, but you can probably guess what I’m going to say, yes time to move on, time to say goodbye, time to stow the last bits and go.

Link to Galapagos Photos

Tags: Pacific Leg