Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Snorkeling Highlight of our Lives (to date)

We think we've figured out how to stay here in the Galapagos, see what we need/want to see, and not break the bank.  Bolivar is the MAN!!!  We've now taken his advice on the second tour of the island, and this one was definitely worth the price of admission.

In his own words, Bolivar is our agent and believes that his job is fix our problems, and in general make our life while here on Cristobal as perfect as it can be.  He always offers to take our trash to town, he's fixed our fumigation paperwork, and he has ensured that the Park officials are happy with the state of the boat.  The latest in his recommendations was a "buddy" of his, who has a boat for touring the islands, and for fishing.  Along with our gang of six, Bolivar showed up with a 3-pak of Ecuadorians and we were away for a day of fishing, snorkeling, and beaching.

The ONLY man to know in town!
Bolivar and his captain friend were keen to do a bit of fishing along the way, so at various times they threw their hooks out.   With the exception of a "bambini" barracuda, they were thwarted in catching everyone a bit of yellowfin for a sushi dinner.  However....

The day started out by heading directly away from Cristobal, past the only two sailboats in the harbour, and out to a rock that all of us sailors had seen coming into port.  

No photoshopped colour - Sundancer and Mar de Luz
The Rock - A Baby Island with it's own light
Due to an entire flock of petrels showing the way, the guys were hoping for a few strikes here but it was not to be.

This island, called Leon Dormido was our destination.  The Sleeping Lion didn't look too much like its namesake, but the gap was the site for our snorkeling adventure.  It's known for hammerheads and other types of sharks, which we all hoped to see, sort of.  

Leon Dormido

We saw what we came to see.  It was truly like being in the middle of a Galapagos documentary.  The rays of the sun shining down through to the depths, the deep blue colour, the vertical walls of the rocks plunging to the sea floor, and a layering of marine life; the six of us snorkeling at the surface, the marine turtles lazily swimming just below, second floor down were the spotted rays, which looked to be about 4-5 feet in diameter, and then the sharks.  All those sharks!  None of knew how many there were, but suffice it to say that there were "enough".  Slowly patrolling the channel, these guardians were obviously well fed, as the countless schools of fish, the turtles, us....they just didn't seem too interested in any of it.  For which we are grateful!  

Ron was able to take some pretty amazing footage on our GoPro, which due to slow internet upload speeds here, you can find via this link on YouTube, if you are interested.  

Consider our minds blown, and despite what friends have said about the sea life we will be seeing in the upcoming months, we wonder if anything will ever be able to top this. 

Another stop, but this time at a deserted island, complete with lots of interesting plant growth patterns.  At first, when I saw them on the beach, I was sure it must have been someone's handiwork, but further into the mangroves, we came upon this under the water.

As I mentioned, Bolivar is a good man to know.  We had wandered through town upon our arrival, inquiring at various tour agencies about a trip out to Leon Dormido, and had gotten quotes in the range of $75-100 per person.  We had our own snorkeling gear and wetsuits, we didn't need a picnic lunch, and we had Bolivar - the cost was $84 for the both of us for this 6 hour excursion.   

It looks like we'll be moving on in the next day or two.  We've decided, after much discussion to bypass Santa Cruz.  Although this is the place that has the most tours, and supposedly is a very lively town, we've also heard that the anchorage is crap, being quite rolly.  There are moorings, but friends on Aros Mear, after a very uncomfortable night, decided that anchoring was better.  As the anchoring area is very small and tight, a stern anchor is needed to keep your boat from swinging into other close-by neighbors.  We don't really like tight, and we're not here to be a part of a lot of tourists, so we'll just head over to the westernmost island, Isabela.  Plans today include replenishing provisions we've used up in the last 3 weeks since leaving Bahia, as well as to top off the 15 gallons of diesel we've used up so far.

Until next time....

1 comment:

  1. Great post, guys. Our experience w/ Bolivar was the same as yours, what a great guy, and he knows EVERYONE on the island. Enjoy Isabella.....we loved it, spent about 6 weeks w/o lifting the hook. And give our "hola's" to Bolivar's man on the island, JC, another great guy! Cheers!