Sadly I write my penultimate blog today in the port of San Cristobal after returning from a spectacular two days on the islands of Isabella and Santa Cruz. Unfortunately we are also all coming to the end of our travels, but It´s not all sad for us, tomorrow we will be flying back to Guayaquil to embark on a week of partying, relaxing and a spot of surfing in the renowned coastal town of Montanita.
Our adventures this week however have been excellent, amongst our normal volunteering work from last week; we have also working on a local project in the small town down the road from the Hacienda Tranquila. Here they are hoping to set up a library for the local town’s people, and being the helpful friendly people we are, we ensured that all their desks and filling cabinets were painted a very nice shade of light blue, as well as decorating the walls and occasionally the floor with some misplaced paint. It´s fair to say the towns people of San Cristobal can now look forward to a tastefully decorated area to study.
After spending a total of 8 days working at the Hacienda, we were all ready for a well-deserved break, fortunately, predicting the need for rest after our epic work efforts, we had such a break well planned in advance. Early Wednesday morning we left the Hacienda to catch the first 2 hour boat of the day going to the island of Santa Cruz, the journey was already being dreaded by the select few with the splendid trait of sea sickness before we had even arrived at the port, however they gallantly hung onto their stomach through the first 2 hour boat ride and fortunately found refuge in travel sickness tablets on Santa Cruz for the proceeding boat to our final destination of Isabella.
Isabella is probably the most beautiful of the three islands we were able to visit, here penguins, iguanas eagle rays and blue footed boobies adorned the beach and seas as we sailed into port, as it turns out Isabella also has the smallest population of the three islands and has no properly constructed roads, only dirt paths. This gave the island a very different feel, much less touristy and urbanized than the other two islands and defiantly more of a taste of what a tropical deserted island would feel like.
Having only one full day in Isabella we decided to cram as much in as possible the following day, setting off early we took a boat tour of the island to eventually snorkel around the lava tunnels on the coast. Along the way we saw a large Manta ray, which in the middle of the ocean our guide suggested we should jump out and attempt to view, not wanting to miss out we followed suit. The manta ray was more scared of us however which until I was actually in the sea, I didn´t think was possible, we had no such luck at viewing it.
However once we arrived at our destination we were treated to a whole host of marine wildlife including giant sea turtles, various tropical fish swimming in the tunnels, and a rather large shark sleeping in an underwater cave, thankfully. The day had been epic so far and was only made better when sailing home we came across a mother and baby Bryde Whale swimming side by side and blowing water out into air, a very rare sight we were informed.
The afternoon we decided would be best spent hiring bikes and touring around the island, for this we went to visit the wall of tears, a stone wall stretching a fair distance on the island and constructed by prisoners as a punishment some time ago. Much to Amberee´s delight on the way there however we came across the one animal she had been desperate to see and had yet avoided her, the Galapagos flamingo.
Having had made the most of our two weeks in the Galapagos we leave with a certain sadness that our time in this uniquely diverse area is at an end, but also with a feeling that we were able to make the very best of our time here and are thankful for the opportunity to help repair and improve the island a little.
We’re all Looking forward to our last week in Ecuador, and before we know it we´ll all be back home for what I hope will be some renowned home cooking, no pressure Mum.