January 3, 2015 (yikes, already?!) dawned finally, with a little sunshine. It's been squally here, with the skies looking exactly like they've been in Bahia for the last 7 months. We were looking forward to some bluer skies, but until yesterday, we were thwarted. It was gorgeous out, and the water took on an even more turquoise shade of blue. Our first excitement came about when Bolivar showed up, and asked if $100 would be enough. (I had sent him an email the day before to let him know that money seemed to be an issue). In the 4+ years we've been traveling, this is the FIRST time that we've gotten a loan from a local. He must have seen this dilemma before, as it didn't seem to phase him too much. The day before I had yet again gone through all our drawers, and pockets, and wallets, and pouches, to see if I could wrangle up a few more pennies, and low and behold, a $20 bill miraculously appeared. And with the $100 that Bolivar gave us, we were feeling flush again. He indicated that on Monday, we would be able to go into the bank and get it sorted out, so that will be the first order of business.
But until then....
We were off to go snorkeling. The day before, our first trip ashore, we went to investigate the Interpretation Center, and having read all about the interesting goings-on here on San Cristobal, we found that there was a trail to a nearby beach, called Las Tirejetas (the Frigates). Vowing to return with gear, we went back for a bit of a snorkel, which worked out perfectly as the sun was still out.
(An aside - the day we arrived and continued to clean the bottom of the boat, after 2 hours in the water, I had the symptoms of early hypothermia. I could not get warm once out of the water. Hot broth, and tucked underneath the covers fully clothed, it still took an hour to stop shaking. The water here, fueled by the cold Humboldt current, has not started to warm up yet. Although in the low 70's, these temps will sap your body heat pretty quickly. For snorkeling, we grabbed our wetsuits to include with the rest of our snorkeling gear.)
A short 45 minute walk later, we arrived at the grotto where we slipped into our suits (not as easy as a few years ago, for some strange reason) and dove into the water. There were a few sea lions which came to investigate, and we swam with them for a while. Lots of fishes, and the cleanest, clearest water we think we've seen since we left on our sailing trip. Then.....SHARK! Funnily, it was a bit of a nonevent, the guy just slipped by me, and went on his way. Although I'm not a shark expert, I want to say that it was a white (or silver) tipped. Seconds later, before I had a chance to yell at Ron, he was yelling at me to come and look at a ray. Again, we aren't experts, but perhaps it was a cownosed ray.
After this excitement, we were congratulated ourselves on an excellent first day swim.