We've been very busy these last few days. With our buddy Ron on Mar de Luz, we continue to check off the "must-dos" here on Isabela. We have had to break into the piggy bank tho, something we aren't really happy about due to the bank situation here.
But back to the fun bit. After roaming around town and interviewing a few companies, we settled on Rosedelco to use for our snorkeling trip out to Los Tuneles. A murky start to the day had us all wondering whether we had made a mistake, but the second stop of the day saw us on top of a distinctly "darth vader-like" sting ray, a MASSIVE manta ray surfacing and diving just off the boat, and turtles. Lots and lots of 4-5 feet long turtles (no lie, not a fish story, they really were this big) which we were able to swim alongside. For me, the highlight of this stop was a seahorse. Other than the descriptive of "yellow", I have no other specific info. Oh, and it was about 8" long (tall). Very, very cool, indeed.
Which brings me to etiquette. Ron and I are not really "group" people. We actually try to do things on our own as we always find that in a group, the guides are more interested in getting you to lunch so they can have a break, or they just want to hurry you along so their entire day will be finished. So we try to NOT do the group thing. We want to mosey, take lots of photos without random strangers cropping up for the inevitable photo bomb, and can see the stuff we want to see without intrusion. This snorkeling trip was a challenge. We happened to be with a few snorkelers that didn't quite know that its not so cool to kick your flippers really hard, stirring up the mucky bottom. Or that they shouldn't get so excited that they park themselves in front of whatever it is the guides have found, or that being aware of where your flippers are, is really important to the guy behind you. At some point I just swam away, as I'd rather have a more peaceful snorkeling experience. The seahorse was a case in point. In only 6 feet or so of water, the guides' admonishments of "just float, people, just float; no kicking" fell on deaf ears. Visibility was obliterated in a matter of seconds. I let everyone leave, hung around for the muck to settle and the water to clear so that I could have another go at seeing the one thing I really wanted to see - and this little guy didn't disappoint. It's obviously where he/she usually hangs out, as the guide knew exactly where to take us.
We all piled into the boat again for the last stop of the day, which was in a series of grottos all created from lava tubes when the local volcano, Sierra Negra, blew her top. Penguins, and incredibly clear water were what awaited us. The visibility had to have been 30-50 feet, and the most insane colour we've seen yet. AND yet another seahorse, this time bright red.
My snorkeling checklist for the Galapagos is now complete!