On San Cristobal Island they hand-harvest and export 200 tonnes
of coffee every year but everyone drinks the 'Colombian' stuff...
It's a crying shame for those of us who love a brewed caffeine
hit. Luckily Tim and Cristal have a coffee grinder and plunger to
remedy the situation at 6.15am each morning.
After breakfast we boarded our boat 'Pacific' for the 2.5 hour
trip to Floreana Island, the least inhabited of the main islands.
On route we stopped for a snorkeling session and saw a spotted
eagle ray, Galapagos penguin, mating frigates, diamond rays and
choc chip sea stars. This little Galapagos Happy Feet is the only
species of penguin found in the northern hemisphere.
It was like Blue Booby heaven, with the males flaunting
around their sexy blue webbed feet.
We had a pre-lunch snorkel before going ashore to a black sand
beach at the hotel of the Witmer's, one of the island's first
settlers. With a population of less than 150 people, Puerto
Velasco Ibarra is a sleepy little town but not without its
Pepo introduced us to the angel trumpet flower, a native plant
that is used by medicine men and as a coming of age tradition in
the jungle. If you place the Angel trumpet flower (pictured) in
your room while you sleep it is supposed to give you wildly
I only peered into the trumpet shaped flower and sniffed it but
that night I had vivid dreamscapes where I kidnapped college
students and made them throw mince meat at people from the back of
After lunch, we took a siesta while listening to the waves
outside our room. In the afternoon we rode atop a bus to the
highlands to visit the Pirate and Whaler Caves and the Giant
Tortoises, living in an open air zoo.
We clambered up to the turtle reserve where we got up close to
20 or so giant land tortoises in captivity. Most of them used to be
pets so can't be returned to the wild. It was funny watching their
wrinkly neck skin extend and shrink, as they slowly but surely
chomped away on tree roots.
When we returned I braved a solo dusk snorkel and spotted a few
colourful fish and a sardine school that must have been out for the
day, as thousands of them rushed past me on their way home.
Preoccupied with the school of fish I got the shock of my life
when I turned to the left and saw a white tipped reef shark, about
1.5m long swimming alongside me.
The sharks I'd seen previously were always a long way below me
but this time I got the side profile of his dorsal fin and forgot
to breath until he'd swum past. It was one of those moments that
will be forever etched in my mind where I was thinking
WOW and OH MY GOD WHAT IF IT EATS
ME? then WOW and back to WHAT IF
IT EATS ME?
We had front row seats on the beach for the evening sunset show
and watched the silhouetted heads of turtles popping up for air in
the shallows. Our dinner reservation was at the Baronesa where we
wolfed down broccoli and cauliflower soup, followed by wahu fresh
fish, rice and salad. The stars sparkled due to the little amount
of light on the island, all powered by a generator that turns off
at midnight. That meant a still and sticky nights sleep with no fan
and we weren't brave enough to open the windows with all the hungry
mosquitoes on the prowl.
For more stories and pics check out:
Galapagos Part 1: Quito to San Cristobal
Galapagos Islands Part 2: Swimming with sea lions,
marine iguanas and shaaaaarks!