Beyond sad about today. The final day of diving.
We had arrived at Cousins Rock, next to Santiago Island around 4am.
Outside was a complete moonscape. To one side of us was Santiago Island – completely covered in volcanos. Haven’t seen solid land in a few days.
Breakfast at 6.30am as usual. I just had two slices of watermelon. Then diving.
Final time putting this thick wetsuit on. My knuckles have been rubbed sore from pulling it on – so painful.
The water here was colder – 22 degrees. And I was freezing. We were promised sea lions – but there was only swimming near the rock. It didn’t want to play.
The dive was slightly boring in comparison to the past few days – slightly greener water, a small marble ray, a shelf of rock covered in white tip reef sharks, a school of barracuda and a pair of eagle rays being the highlight. Which actually those are pretty cool! And a large school of five spot fish. In Darwin there were thousands of these fish – swimming ferociously into the current. Here, lazing around on the bottom. I’ve never seen fish act like that, usually they are always moving to keep water flushing over their gills.
There was no current. The dive was so easy. No rock climbing. Just swimming along nicely. So easy.
An hour on the surface – with my usual big mug of hot chocolate! And admiring the surrounding moonscape.
Then the last dive. All we did was mess around – taking photos of each other and some of the crew came with us too. It was so fun. We didn’t want to come up.
Then it was all over.
Gear to rinse and hope it somewhat dries during the 2 hour sail down to Santa Cruz.
We had lunch as we sailed and by 1.30pm we were back at Itabaca Chanel at the northern end of the island, and taking out final panga ride to the landing spot.
I have land sickness. Everything is rocking.
We were picked up in a small bus and started driving south towards Puerto Ayora, the main town.
Enroute we stopped off in the highlands at a tortoise reserve.
Each island has a different species of Galapagos tortoise. These ones have a high-domed shell.
We were given wellies, then able to roam free across a large grassy and forested area. There were tortoises everywhere. Some of them were huge. Finches eat parasites from the tortoises and there were so many hanging around.
In the cafe area they had shells of a few dead tortoises and it was possible to climb inside.
Then the last part of the journey to town.
Puerto Ayora is much bigger than the main town on San Cristobal that I was at previously. There is a population of 12,000 people. Typical concrete town full of tourism.
I dumped my bags and went out for a walk. The fish market was closed, but there were still a few large pelicans hanging around.
A lot of souvenir shops. And tour booking agencies.
And the main pier – a jetty into the bay. Sea lions swimming in the water. Baby black tips sharks. And a massive school of baby golden cow rays. So cute! Even in the town there is so much wildlife – crazy.
I met back up with the group for dinner at 6.30pm. I was surprised that the restaurant (Il Guiardino) had vegan options marked! I had a falafel burger – it was great. Food is generally expensive in the town. Mine was $10, but most (non vegan) dishes were in the $20-30 range.
Some of the group were spending one final night on the boat as it sailed back to San Cristobal. We had to say goodbye. So sad.
After dinner a few of us went back down to the main pier to watch the nightlife! The strong lights on the long jetty attract plankton, fish and predators. It was the same as earlier – but so many more black tips. The school of cow rays were much smaller. A couple of eagle rays. And there were sea lions lazing around. One of them on the jetty (no idea how it got up here).
The night market food street was busy – completely full of people. Sad that they eat so much fish here, from what should be a marine reserve.