Day 336 Seymour North Island, Galápagos Day 6

The good thing about a bad day is it makes the next good day even better. I had seriously considered locking myself in our indulgent bayside hotel room today; it has a bed with three pillows, air conditioning and an ensuite without rails falling off the walls. But, we’d booked the one last day tour, Seymour North, today and Dan wouldn’t have been happy to go alone. Well, he probably would since he happily snorkelled away from me back to the beach leaving me panicked looking for him possibly drowned under a rock.

We got on the bus near the travel agent where we’d booked the tour from, joining a motley group of various nationalities. An English woman turned around and said she’d seen us arrive in town yesterday (great, me walking like a cowboy). Three French guys, a few German straight couples, a heterosexual couple from Chile, a single very tanned woman from Brazil, and an English man with a much younger woman who eventually whined, “Daaaad.”

The smiling guide explained in Spanish, then English that we’d travel 45 min by bus (to the port 42 km North on the other side of Isla Santa Cruz) then transfer to a boat where we’d travel another 45 min before getting to Seymour North. My heart sank. I couldn’t face another choppy boat ride that makes my head undulate like a lava lamp for hours. The island looked so close on the map!

I gritted my teeth and took a Buscopan; at least it stops my guts from churning. Dan took one too.

At the dock life jackets were handed out as the group was split into two as it took two trips for the little dinghy to ferry passengers to our boat. We climbed aboard. We were encouraged to sit around the boat – upstairs was full so I clambered to the bow. The boat set off and I’d expected to be hauled back inside once we sped up and the waves began the cycle of heave and slam that’s haunted my inner ears all week. But it never happened.

For the first time all week we had a pleasant boat ride. In fact, it was more than pleasant; it was glorious. The island is not far off Santa Cruz and we took 45 min because we drifted along, rather than getting there at break-neck speed. It was awesome! We lay back on the deck, I covered myself with a beach towel (must not get burnt) and fell asleep. It was idyllic. If our week had been full of boat rides like this I would’ve signed up for a cruise for our next holiday. Birds flew by, skirting near the boat as the island beyond slowly drifted further away. To the North were two volcanic crater islands. Daphne Major and Minor. We veered East.

Dan and I were all smiles.

At the island the wind picked up, which made the guide very snappy at the mature passengers who were blasé about transferring off the dinghy, wearing non-water-proof watches and almost slipping into the water. “It’s dangerous!” he exclaimed.

I wore my beach towel over my head and arms. Not getting sunburnt. I didn’t care that the others looked at me sideways. By the end of our round-island walk the breeze had died and the midday sun was oppressive. English man’s calves were pink and I was happily shaded under my sunshine yellow awning.

We all gasped at the proximity of the wildlife, taking too many photos. Land iguanas were climbing trees. Frigates – I learned there were two types were nesting, mating, feeding young, cooling down or putting on curious displays of mating ritual behaviours. Click click click went the cameras. Well, Dan’s electronic SLR makes camera shutter sounds. I’ve silenced my iPhone.

When we transferred back to the boat for lunch I was surprised by two things. Today I could actually stomach eating on board (the larger boat didn’t rock so much) and the fried fish on rice was absolutely delicious. We briefly speculated if this was what a cruise might have been like but quickly returned to enjoy the present.

We snorkelled, again. Surprisingly we saw a few new fish, even an eel. I scanned up and down rocks but didn’t find a seahorse. I’ve been hoping to find one all week. I spotted sea cucumbers on the sea floor.

We lay in the deck in the afternoon sun and shade from the boat on our return. I tried to doze on the bus ride but wasn’t able to fall asleep. A small yellow bird flew in an open window by accident and slammed into the wall and died.

We showered and relaxed in our hotel before walking out to find postcards (can’t forget postcards) and dinner. We went back to the alley of nondescript vendors we enjoyed last weekend. We went back to the same restaurant. Funny how quickly routines can become established.

Dan has begun to pine that we only have one full day left. He’s discovered two more day tours that he wants to do, on top of the nearby beaches we’d already planned in exploring. I had to reason: so far our boat rides have been awful and today’s was amazing. Can’t we leave on a high note and complete out land-based itinerary tomorrow, and consider other island day trips for a return visit, if we get the chance? Part of what made today special was the relaxed pace. All other tours this week have been go go go. We are on vacation. Thankfully he agreed. Not before spying another island we haven’t yet seen.

We gave most of our clothes in for the laundry service last night. It makes me so happy to have dry, clean clothes to wear tomorrow. My long pants were caked with mud from Sierra Negra and my socks and underwear were all damp and faintly mouldy. They all smell like lemons now. Simple pleasures.

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