Santa Cruz Island Tour

Sunday March 10th
One of the great things in the bay here is that we don’t need to drop our dinghy, dear little “Whoops-a-Daisy” gets a well-deserved break. The water taxis pick us up and transports us to shore, for a dollar, actually it’s 60 cents, but we can’t be bothered with all that change, so we just pay a dollar each way.

We stopped and collected our friends Debbie and Steve from their boat (another Oyster) and we headed ashore for coffee (and Internet). I was able to post the latest nonsense on my website, and then we headed off for a tour of the Tortoise farm, the one we visited briefly yesterday with the cab driver.

This time we entered the farm by a different entrance and were allocated hiking gear in the form of wellington boots! After donning our “fashionable wellies”! We headed out into the shrub to hunt for giant tortoises. Many were to be found and photographed, fascinating creatures they are, as well as some Darwin finches, yellow warblers, smooth-billed anis, Galapagos flycatchers, and some beautiful monarch butterflies.

The next item on the agenda was the lava tunnel. I followed along with the group, climbing cautiously down the carved stairs to the floor at the entrance of the tunnel. The air grew decisively cooler as we descended into the tunnel, it felt deliciously refreshing after the oppressive heat of the shrub outside.

I’d heard of people having to crawl on hands and knees through these tunnels, and I wasn’t at all keen on doing that, but I thought I would just go so far and then turn back… (Oh how wrong I was. When will I ever learn?)

We walked for quite a while following the light, before the tunnel floor became black and watery. The footing was rough and rocky, the air was quite cold and damp, but it was still amazing. The tunnel ceiling kept getting further and further away, higher and higher. I couldn’t help imagining the immense flow of earth searing, lava that had once flowed through here creating this tunnel. I kept thinking that the light ahead was the end of the tunnel, so I kept going, it turned out that it was just the tunnel lighting, electric lights have been strung for most of the length of the tunnel. Anyway, I kept going long enough to know that I wouldn’t be turning back. We walked, climbed and stumbled for about a half hour maybe more, I lost track of time. I was happy that we were a group of six. Steve and Edi helped me with my camera through the more difficult areas, but I was fine until we finally came to an area where the tunnel appeared to end, I could hear voices close (not ours) so I knew there had to be other people, but I couldn’t see anyone, despite the tunnel lighting it was quite dark. This was where we realized that we had to get on our hands and knees in the black watery dirt and crawl through to the other side, it was only a few meters, but I must tell you that I was less than enthusiastic. Once again Steve and Ed offered to help with my camera, I rolled up my pants, got down on my hands and knees and crawled through the black watery mud to the other side, Steve followed me, and only Ed was left on the other side. “Hang on a second Ed” Bob called, “I just want to clean my hands”. Poor Ed was the only one left on the far side of the tunnel. I used my bottled water to clean everyone’s black muddy hands then we went to help Ed through, at which point Bob turned on the video camera to film Edi crawling through. I was so relieved to be the other side, I have slight claustrophobia, so this was pretty scary for me, but I’m happy that I did it .
The lava tunnel was amazing, just to imagine the lava flowing through there, creating that enormous tunnel was quite incredible.

After our tour we were dropped back in town at a lovely shore-front restaurant. We enjoyed a lazy afternoon of beer and cocktails, the lunch was so spectacular we all decided to come back for dinner.

They guys took a cab back to the shore while Danni, Debbi and I hit the stores. The shopping here is not what I expected, some of the stores are quite exquisite, the only thing I was lacking was my credit card (luckily for Bob)…

Following our shopping spree Danni, Debbi and I made a late dash by taxi back to the boat to join the guys who were sitting on deck happily working their way through the fridge full of beer. After a brief shower and change we were all ashore again for the Oyster “happy hour” before returning to the restaurant for dinner, by this time our group had grown to 10.

Today has not been at all typical of the day I thought I would be experiencing in the Galapagos, but I can’t say I’m disappointed, far from it, I’ve had the best day, the only thing that could have improved it would have been to have had Nic and Paul with us.

Everyone here still asks us about Paul, and “when he’s coming back”?

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