Before we head to San Cristobal we had a day off. Our normal days off have been spent going for a swim or lunch in a local hotel in town. All the pools are really cold at the moment but the girls love them and don’t feel the chill! It was during one of these days off that I realised we were wasting our time here. I’m keen to see as much as possible whilst we’re here and so convinced Mont that we should be tourists for the day and visit Bartholomew island.
So got up super early to join a trip on a catamaran to one of the islands north of Santa Cruz – we’d heard rumours of mantas and penguins so couldn’t wait!
We had a two hour cruise past Daphne island where we spotted a small colony of Nazca boobies and lots of other bird life. The girls loved the boat and it’s large deck to play on. We finally reached our destination and hopped on a tender to take us ashore. Just before we left the catamaran we were saluted by the tip of a manta’s wing. It circled and spiralled in the water just off shore whilst we were taken ashore.
Our first stop was a short but steep climb up to the volcano summit where there is a view point, and it was worth the climb. The girls held lava boulders as light as paper on the way and spotted lava lizards. Once we got down from the peak we sat on the tender to search for a small colony of Galapagos penguins. And we found them! Isla and Mont had a quick snorkel in the bay and managed to catch a good sighting of one of the penguins hunting for fish.
Molly and I played in the shallows and a beautiful, tall Grey heron landed just by us and stayed looking out to sea, admiring the view with us for about ten minutes. It was totally unfazed by us being here – just like all the animals on the islands.
We had a lumpy journey home – fortunately the girls slept in one of the cabins and we got home safe and sound. A great day!
The following day we went to San Cristobal in a tiny 8 seater aircraft. The flight only took about 30 minutes and Katy and a taxi were waiting on the other side of the equally tiny airport. San Cristobal is the capital of the Galapagos and has about 8000 residents, so a lot smaller and a bit friendlier than Santa Cruz. There are masses of Sealions and blue footed boobies everywhere here! They live directly on the main esplanade. The island is small so it’s compact and easy to travel around and straight away the whole crew and all of us started to feel much perkier!
Our second day was spent on a lovely beach called La Loberia – where as normal now you’re surrounded by sealions and here we snorkelled with tens of green turtles. We’ve just about figured out the easiest way to get Isla in her wetsuit now – it takes some doing believe me…
I was very lucky to be asked to go on a research trip to look at plastic pollution with some of the crew and JP, a scientist working for the national park.
First of all we visited the most pristine and gorgeous beach I think I’ve ever been to and then we walked onto a beach totally covered in plastic and rubbish. It was a vast graveyard of bleached and destroyed coral and the mangroves acted like colanders catching everything and anything the sea threw at it. It was totally unbelievable – the beach was pretty much ruined. JP also showed me contents from a turtles stomach – including fragments of plastic and plastic bags plus nests made out of plastic wire and yarn. I was so pleased to have been involved with this particular sequence for the documentary as it’s powerful and though provoking stuff.
On the whole our experience on San Cristobal was quite relaxed and although Monty and Molly had a few stressful moments…including her not wanting to remove her pink dress which she had worn for days on end, and that she wanted to be carried everywhere by him we all had a good time and felt reenergised for the final few weeks.