8 May 2012
Day 3 in the Galapagos and it feels like we have been here for weeks – in a good way! This morning after breakfast we went back on board our speedy boat – this time with all of our luggage. Our small packs were inspected before boarding to ensure that we weren’t taking organic products between islands (and though they said our main cases were also checked, the locks on mine had not been undone so I think it was a cursory once over).
Two hours on the boat at speed and I realised why I had not taken a cruise – whilst I wasn’t sick, a few others were, and I was happy when we could see land again and were allowed on the front deck for some fresh air.
As we coasted around the edge of Floreana Island we saw quite a lot of birds – frigates, boobies and pelicans, along with the odd sealion. The scenery was also lovely.
Once on the island we had a little time on the pier so that they could unload our luggage from the speedboat (which remained anchored just off the pier), so we made use of the time watching the many marine iguanas on the rocks, along with one pelican who was having his breakfast.
We arrived at the hotel right on a black sand beach with just enough time for a swim before heading to the restaurant for lunch – fresh tuna, rice and salad.
After lunch there was enough time for a rest from the heat and a quick 20 minute snooze before heading to the island’s loboria – or sealion refuge – about a half hour walk from the hotel. It was a lovely walk around the coast before coming upon a deserted white sandy beach. The only problem was the onshore high tide and numerous rocks which made heading into the water a little difficult with flippers on – so I put them on once we got past the break point.
For the first 20 minutes or so there didn’t seem a lot to see – a few fish here and there. And then,out of nowhere appeared the most graceful sea turtle gliding past me. I saw about three in total and they were beautiful. Even managed to catch a couple on the underwater flip camera!
After watching the turtles I realised that the swell seemed to be carrying me, in the opposite direction to my flippers and when I looked up I had snorkelled a little away from many of the others and was headed towards some rocks, so I said hasty farewell to the turtle and headed closer to the beach. Snorkelling over the sand, I came across two individual rays – black with spots – apparently not harmless – but I swam over them taking extra care not to get too close.
After an hour or so I decided to get out of the water for a break. The horse flies on the beach decided to have their afternoon tea and I managed to get a number of bites – so I decided to head back to the hotel.
A welcome cold shower (no hot water even if we wanted it) and some bug spray on and I decided to walk out of the room and onto the beach to take a few photos.
It really is a beautiful spot and as the most undeveloped of the inhabited islands of the Galapagos, Floreana has a certain rustic charm. Our hotel is the only one on the island at the moment and there is only one shop and restaurant. It will be interesting to see how it copes with developing tourism.
Anyway, it was a relaxing hour or so watching the sun slowly set, and the crabs scurry on the rocks. Just before sunset three adorable puppies ran onto the beach and played with some of the others in the group – so cute – they must be the owner of the hotel’s.
Once the sunset there was just enough time to freshen up (though that is difficult in 30+ degrees) before we headed back to the same restaurant for dinner, and then Hanzel, our guide told us more about the Galapagos sealion (and the essential differences with seals – am sure I heard that in Antarctica).
Having an early night listening to the sounds of the waves on the beach before heading to the highlands of the island tomorrow – think I will be glad of a day out of the sun (or at least my skin will be). Rapidly thinking that the Galapagos is the perfect holiday spot – with a mixture of activity and relaxation every day – it is a nice change from being on the go the whole time – just a shame about the bugs – our room has hundreds along with a couple of spiders – I guess it is supposed to be rustic!