Travel to the Galapagos Islands (part 2)
We continue our trip to the Galapagos Islands - an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, close to the Ecuador. Here there is a unique animal and plant life that no longer exists anywhere in the world.
Los Tuneles - frozen water arches and tunnels of lava. a huge number of sea turtles living in the tunnels. However, the water in the ocean in January is so muddy that the water we have no turtle never seen, although the boat was seen that hundreds of them around!
From the port to the place to go an hour and a half, it is worth inexpensive tour, plus the road show the beautiful island-rock with a colony of gannets:
Notice the bright blue feet:
Here we were able to observe the Galapagos penguins. They are quite shy and do not let people near, but the Penguins have descended to us :)
Christmas and New Year, we met Isabella. The Christmas Day is nothing interesting happened, the island lived its normal life, except that during the day a lot of people gathered in a large no unfinished cathedral, and in the evening the restaurant is closed early. Troublemaker was only a lone preacher, calling all to repent.
The most interesting thing happened on New Year's Eve. When we arrived on the island, the first thing that caught our attention - colorful human heads made of papier-mache of the local store. Assigning them was unclear.
After a couple of days to figure heads joined by characters from the cartoon, and the day before New Year's in the street we established a five-meter sculpture of an Indian. As we have explained, it is a long tradition - burn "bad people" or cartoon characters, as a symbol of all that is bad, which should remain in the past year and vanish like smoke.
On the eve blocked the main street, set the scene and launched a mobile shop with food and drinks. In the streets there were men dressed as women, and begging for money. Such a "carnival" historically refers to the burning of the figures. In ancient times, men dressed in women and depicted the mourners, but now they are basically begging money and arranged vulgar dancing in the square. People liked it.
All products are brought to the island once a week from the mainland. Due to the remoteness of the Galapagos all imported products are rather expensive. Especially alcohol. Therefore usually bring something very cheap. Despite the lack of good drinks, people are waiting for the New Year quietly drunk, and the kids in full firecrackers exploded and burned some oakum, which unscrewing gave a lot of sparks:
Some of many homes and restaurants of the whole sculptural pieces of paper have been exposed. In some cases, the figures were quite specific people with the name on the chest.
Just before midnight, the figure most disliked characters were thoroughly beaten and stacked in piles in the street. Exactly twelve them doused with gasoline and set on fire. The whole city is lit up with numerous fires, which started to jump through drunken tourists. The fun lasted all night.
The next morning the city looked like after the bombing. The streets were empty and littered with debris.
Floreana - "not a good island"
The third point of our program was the island of Floreana. It is the smallest of the inhabited islands of the archipelago. On the island is home to about 100 people. Here are constantly bringing in a group of tourists from Santa Cruz, and diving and snorkeling near Floreana is considered one of the best in all of Galapagos.
Our rich imagination painted idyllic pictures - we are on a deserted beach surrounded by the endemic flora and fauna ... We do not even alerted that a local heard that we are going to Floreanu, grimaced and said about the island: "muy feo "(" disgusting ").
Floreana Island was one of the strangest of places where we had to go over the years of travel. The first thing we noticed when we arrived on the island, the people here are very dark and unfriendly. This was especially noticeable in contrast to the open and smiling people of the other islands. The only settlement on the island - a village called Puerto Velasco Ibarra - a few houses and two unpaved streets.
On the island there are only two hotels. The first - the road from the lodge network Red Mangrove, where lodge tourists sailing on a two-day tour with the same name with the hotel Santa Cruz, so you can get there only by prior reservation. Second - Hoster Wittmer, which include descendants of the first settlers on the island. By calling the phone, we agreed on the arrival time and the cost of living. It was very strange that at the peak of the season, at low cost, the hotel has rooms available for any period. We agreed with the senior Frau Wittmer. She frowned much to learn that we do not speak German.
Hoster is located on the beach of black sand. It sounds romantic, but the reality looks far worse than white or yellow sand. However, this beach - one of the attractions of the island. Every day to bring tourists to swim and posnorklit (kind of swimming under the surface of the water with mask and snorkel, and usually with fins).
Upon arrival had to search long for the hosts, as hoster was empty. On the territory there are three residential buildings, built at different times, and fairly modern restaurant-museum, on whose walls hung with historical photographs and utensils of the first settlers.
On the front of the hoster it looks good, but in the yard of a terrible mess and ruin, and everything is done very crooked - not in German. According to our calculations, the hoster is designed for 50-60 people, but at the height of the season, when all the other hotels are crowded, it was empty. This is alarming.
With difficulty we found the younger Frau Wittmer she was taciturn, unpleasant lady forty years. To any question she answered in the negative, and in general there was a feeling that he wants to quickly get rid of us. - Can you call from?
- You have breakfast included in the price?
- But in general, you can eat in your restaurant?
- Where then will we have?
- In the village there are other restaurants.
- We need hot water for a child 2-3 times a day. You can heat the water in your restaurant?
- No, it is always closed. And so on...
Frau both live in cramped annexe, fully laden with porcelain figurines and photos. Windows always shuttered. Dozvatsya hosts almost impossible. Sometimes the territory flashed a figure of one of the ladies, and then disappeared in an unknown direction. About host extensions are constantly grazed five shy of Siamese cats with their tails chopped off (!) And a couple of dogs.
Wicket fence every time we went outside the host, strongly propped up with a stick on the back side. At night in the host does not have a single spark, and the only wild cat screaming beneath the window, a dog howling at the full moon, and from the shore came the voice of sea lions. Wittmer morning the old woman went to the beach with a huge machete in his hand, and behind it all its tailless cats ...
From sights on Floreane: an observation deck on the mount; natural labyrinth, in which the first settlers lived; two-meter stone head Indian carved pirates; and the next giant tortoises. Besides - Lober (the place where the "nest" sea lions) and the beach of black sand, which we have already mentioned.
Again Galapagos Tortoise:
Perhaps of all the above is only Lober deserved attention. It was not far from us, so we went there several times to take pictures of landscapes and sea lions.
there is a very beautiful place.
Lober is located on a small peninsula connected to the mainland by a sandy spit. At high tide the braid pulled completely under water, and the peninsula turns into the island. Tourist groups were not allowed there. Fortunately, we were able to come in here at any time and move the braid at low water.
On the island many lions cubs and parents behave very aggressively. Especially memorable moment when the water suddenly popped up a huge male with a 200 kilogram gaping like in the movie 'Jaws' mouth, which then rode behind us on the rocks at a rate of a mountain goat. It was really scary, so more closely tried not to approach.
In general, to see the sea lions, it is not necessary to go far. All day in the port of hanging around a crowd of these marine animals, soaking up the sun and preventing tourists come ashore. Tourists nervously sidestep them, the girls squealed at every sudden movement of the animal, and local to them especially not stand on ceremony - children throw stones at lions.
On the island there are several interesting places that can only be seen from the water. To our question - how to get there, the younger Wittmer said that in any way - it is the territory of the national park, and tourists there be prohibited. Fortunately, it was another lie. Quickly found the owner of the boat, who agreed to take us there for a small fee. In just a few hours of the trip, we filmed a lot of blue-footed boobies and other birds.
In South America, many place names associated with the Devil. We have already seen: The Eye of the Devil's Path Dvola, Throat Dvola, now the Crown Dvola. This group of rocks in the water, which forms a substantially perfect circle. From afar and from above, in fact, similar to the crown:
About "Crown" is always a lot of different ships. Definitely come here and dive cruise ship.
On the third day we said goodbye to the inhospitable island.
San Cristobal Island
The island of San Cristobal was the final point of our route. The first thing that struck me on arrival to the island - an incredible number of sea lions. It seems that the whole city is inhabited by these animals.
They are hundreds on the beach, on a wooden quay on benches and tables in the harbor, near restaurants and shops. Everywhere! They run across the road in front of passing cars, take away bags from careless tourists and local chase dogs. And all would have been fine if not for the smell of these adorable little animals ... In windless days it was possible to get rid of the stench, just poring into several neighborhoods in the city.
In the San Cristobal very beautiful promenade that stretches along the tourist street. Restaurants and agencies are much smaller than Santa Cruz.
To our surprise, the island is almost all closed for siesta, and on weekends the city is almost extinct.
The main attraction of the island - rock of Leon Dormido. Recognizable outline of the rock can be seen everywhere - on promotional materials, postage stamps, in films:
San Cristobal - the only island in the archipelago, where there is a reservoir of fresh water - Laguna El Junco, which lies in the crater of the volcano. The top of the volcano is almost always in the clouds. We are only at the second attempt was lucky enough to catch a little enlightenment, and take a picture of a lake in the crater. color of the lake changes every minute, depending on the light and the cloud density. Very beautiful!
Diving was probably one of my main goals in the Galapagos. Having read the rave reviews, I was prepared to see something incredible underwater. But, alas, the diving was not impressed. Let's start with the fact that the water was very cold - 16-18 degrees. Visibility during most dives were practically zero, and the situation is only getting worse with time, and an incredible amount of jellyfish appeared in the last week. Well, the most important thing, and unpleasant - a small amount of any interesting living creatures underwater.
During the first six dives I did not see anything at all, except for shoals of fish of uniform and single sea lions. Only dive Gordon Rocs and Leon Dormido can be called successful. Both dive site - lone rock in the middle of the ocean. Around the rocks are very strong currents. Tactics dive - caught on a rock and wait, when something swims by. At the Gordon Rocks was a lot of sharks - Hammerhead went to pieces in packs of twenty. Several times were manta rays. At Leon Dormido I saw flocks of small sharks and a few turtles. It's a shame that most of all it floated away, could see and photograph only vague silhouettes.
Under the water, I spent a total of more than eight hours, during which time I have seen: one lobster, 5-6 rays, octopus 2, 2-3 turtles, moray eels 2, a pack of barracudas, manta rays 2-3 (very far ) and a dozen sharks (quite far). Enough for eight hours, I think, especially given the cost of diving in the Galapagos.
That definitely like - snorkeling with sea lions. Free fun, because twice as nice :)
Posnorklit can be in many places in the Galapagos, but I liked to Playa del Amor at the San Cristobal - right at the shore there is a large flock lives. Young Lions - a very curious and active. Difficult to photograph them as they swim at a breakneck pace. Several times it happened that some of the youth at full speed and flew toward me, and when a collision seemed inevitable, they dramatically went down or to the side, leaving only a blurred face in my shots.
Quite differently behave females with calves and large males. They are slow and less curious. When I too long chasing a mother with a cub, it's not like their daddy. He pushed his family away, and he went back and studied me for ten minutes, swimming very close, but not touching. At one point I had the courage and touched Lobos. It was a big mistake. I immediately received a strong blow to the back and the male began to behave nervously. I just had to tear from the scene. Dvuhsotkilogramovoy against the carcass with huge teeth under the water I had no chance :)
If we had to pay another visit to the Galapagos Islands, we would have planned your route quite different: have arrived at San Cristobal, and it would start: here is worth seeing Leon Dormido and lagoon with fresh water in the crater of the volcano. Dalle - have sailed on Santa Cruz. Here you can see giant turtles swim on Seymour and Bartolome, lie on the beach Tortuga Bay. May swim on Floreanu in the one-day tour. And have completed their stay Isabella.
In general, despite our grumbling about the cost of organized tourism, we are confident that Galapagos is one of those places that you must visit at least once in their lifetime. And to do it as quickly as possible.