Swimming with sharks, turtles and eagle rays is a memorable way to spend my birthday on Friday 20th! Opting for the extra hour long visit to nearby Loberia beach we were up early for the water taxi at 06.30. Fernando the guide helped us learn about marine iguanas in and took us for a brief snorkel then it was back to town to join the main trip to Kicker rock- just 12 of us plus baby Kai with Juno and Makena. A high speed 40 minute ride later we were circumnavigating the massive volcanic outcrop and we were soon in the water - like swimming in an aquarium - strange to feel comfortable and safe looking down on 25/30 sharks including two hammerheads, a multitude of other fish, a couple of turtles and closest to us an orderly procession of eagle rays- white spotted. We swam through the narrow 20 metre channel between the main outcrop and its sister - carried gently by the current and with baby Kai towed along on a life-ring. There were some dramatic water temperature changes and it was almost feeling cold (all things are relative!) by the time we reboarded the boat. A short hop to a deserted mainland beach tucked behind a reef for a lunchstop and walk - complete with sea lions, iguanas, and brightly coloured crabs - a magical excursion!
Back in Puerto Baquirez, we dined out at Rosita's to complete the birthday day.
The Saturday fruit market drew us on the 21st - Marian and I filled our bags with good quality fresh produce and some meat, chicken and prawns whilst Petter and James researched the trips available on Isla Isabella. We spent several frustrating hours trying to get internet connections and realise we really need to get used to being without- or with a lot less!
After Marian's excellent prawn curry, we left the anchorage late in the evening for the 85 mile overnight passage to Isabella. Completely windless, we motored over a glassy sea with stars reflected. Morning of Sunday 22nd brought views of the striking Los Hermanos islands off Isabella - mostly appearing as fragments or truncations of volcano crater tops peaking above the sea. We anchored as the 5th ARC boat in here at dead low water, 11am and three of us spent the rest of the day in Port Villamil town mainly at the 'Booby Trap' - good WiFi, good lunch and English spoken! We share the anchorage with four non-ARC boats and three large tour cruisers. The small town seems to be mainly hostels, restaurants etc - mostly attractively built with plenty of wood and colour but with the customary gap sites and half built projects in between. James stayed on board, snorkelled (disappointingly murky) and cleaned the waterline.
Another anchorage where we are dependent upon water taxis(due to combination of limited dinghy dock, surf at beach plus sea lion nuisance)- a bit less well organised than the reliable 'Bonnie' at San Cristobal. Billed as the 'jewel' of the Galapagos, we have set up our all over suncover to keep us cool for our days here on board inbetween organised tours.