Now I know why they call this an “active, multi-sport adventure.” In our first full day in the Galapagos, we kayaked, snorkeled and hiked. My knees ache, but my psyche soars!
The morning started with a three hour paddle straight out from the beach next to our hotel, across the bay and along the coast. Of course there were the ubiquitous sea lions swimming alongside and diving under our kayaks the whole way. Alfredo, our guide, said that they were attracted by the colorful kayaks; I think that it was our magnetic personalities. Or maybe they mistook me for one of their own — large, mustached and grey.
We also saw lots of birds (gulls, frigates, boobies), but my favorite animal sightings, aside from my cousins, the sea lions, were the marine iguanas. I like weird music, art and scenery, so its probably not a surprise that I took a special liking to these bizarre-looking prehistoric creatures.
After our paddle we had time for a short snorkel to try out our wetsuits and for me, my new underwater camera. It took a while to get the hang of it, but I did manage a few decent shots. We will be snorkeling for most of the day today, so I expect better shots, but these are OK for a first effort.
After an excellent lunch of fresh shrimp and fish tacos, we went for a drive into the highlands to visit a tortoise research center and hike for a mile or so through a forest on the grounds of the center to see the tortoises in their natural habitat.
This was followed by a hike up to and around a lake in the caldera of a volcano. The flora and atmosphere in the highlands is quite different than it is by the sea. The islands are mostly desert — very dry with lots of cactus and sparse vegetation — but the highlands are in the clouds so the vegetation is more green, dense and lush. Our hike around the lake was like a walk through the moors of Scotland, along a mud slicked trail, through low brush that looked like heather, wrapped in a shroud of mist the entire way.
A pretty full day, but it wasn’t quite over. We headed back to our quaint, charming hotel, the Opuntia, on the water front in San Cristobal, the main town on the island, for an excellent dinner that included sashimi from a tuna caught a few hours before by one of the members of our group who opted to go fishing instead of hiking.
The food here has been outstanding. For yesterday’s lunch we had the best ceviche I have ever had. Katherine, who knows about these things (I am more of an expert on burgers and sausage) agrees.
After a short walk on the promenade in front of the hotel (the anti-Venice Beach — clean with no crowds, homeless or drunks) we went to bed. To give you an idea, this is a photo taken from the balcony in front of our room.
(Note — The Adventure Geezer is being hosted by Adventure Life, the tour operator for this trip)