Friday, October 28th ~ Tagus Cove, Urbina Bay, Isabela Island
Day 3 ~ Before we take off on todays excursions, I wanted to share more information of what day-to-day life is like on board the Santa Cruz II. There are several primary large areas where meetings, or lectures, or meals can be served, the Panorama Bar, Rear Sun Deck, Library and the Dining Room.
At lunchtime each day, we review the menu of dinner offerings and place our order so the chef knows how many of each dish to prepare. Less waste as only what is needed is prepared.
The daily schedule is posted on each deck so that we know what is planned, whether it is a wet or dry landing, and any options we may need to sign up for in advance.
A map is also displayed on these boards showing how far we have traveled and where we will be each day.
Did you notice that Isabel Island is in the shape of a sea-horse?
And pictures are posted to show us the primary “Big 15” animals/birds/reptiles we will be looking for that day.
I already shared a picture of our cabin and bathroom on day 1.
When our group is announced to depart the ship, we already have our life vests on. Moving to the aft of the boat, we place a red magnet over our cabin room number (one for each person in that cabin) so that the crew always knows who is on board and who is on shore.
Our plans for the morning include a panga ride and landing at Tagus Cove on the northwest part of Isabela Island. This was a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers over the centuries.
An uphill hike brought us to the rim of the crater and to Darwin Lake, filled with salt water. This was a spectacular vista point with the colorful lake and ocean with our ship in the background.
After our walk, the panga hugged the shoreline to spot more of the local wildlife.
We next had the choice of open water snorkeling or glass bottom boat ride. We choose second option. Unfortunately the water was stirred up and murky, so we saw little other than several green sea turtles and chocolate chip starfish.
All of this was before lunch!
We had planned on going snorkeling in the afternoon from the beach at Urbina Bay, but after seeing how unclear the water was today, we chose to stay on board and just go on the late afternoon hike.
Urbina Bay, is the fascinating result of an uplifting of the ocean floor in 1954. The beach was made up of corals, shells and other calcareous organisms exposed above water.
The walk was easy and mostly flat this afternoon.
And what about the vegetation? Yes, we did see the occasional flower, seed or fruit pod, but they were not in abundance. Here is a sampling of what we found. Sorry, I have not identified each one.
This area is also home to the large and colorful Galápagos land iguanas and occasionally to giant tortoises. We were fortunate (once again) to see both of them.
These tortoise can live up to 150 years it has been estimated.
Last ones off the island just before sunset. This shows the beach area where some of the group snorkels from.
We were welcomed back on board to watch the sunset and a surprise BBQ happy hour complete with Sangria on the rear Panorama Deck.
After another sumptuous dinner, a guest scientist, Gabriella, gave a lecture on how the weather patterns (El Nino and La Nina) affect evolution. Tim is once again struggling with dietary allergy reactions and not feeling great, so he opted for an early evening, but I found the talk of interest.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for how well-organized the ship and activities are. Things run smoothly, there are always steady hands to assist getting on/off the moving panga boats. Meals are tasty and varied. There are always some options each day for more or less adventurous passengers. They run a well-oiled machine.
We hope you are enjoying seeing what our Galapagos Expedition is like. We have two more full days to go. Please join us!