The following morning our boat to Santa Cruz (the second island we had chosen for our land based tour) boarded at 7am. There are two choices of boat between the Islands which you can reside on- early morning and mid afternoon, and they all cost $30 each way. My last time on a boat was to visit Skellig Michael at home in Kerry last year and that morning the fish thanked me for my breakfast that I left behind so I was a bit apprehensive about this one! It was a very smooth crossing for about an hour and a half and even though we had the magical company of dolphins swimming beside us I was still super happy to reach land! Once settled in our accommodation we donned the swim suits and headed to rent snorkel gear for our days on the island.
Our first visit was to a place called Tortuga Bay. It was a 45 minute walk from the main area which was rather uncomfortable in the stifling heat. We actually never experienced heat like the heat in the Galapagos! We’ve been in warmer temperatures but I think it was the proximity to the equator/ zero existence of any breeze that caused the suffering (coming from an adorer of heat!!). Anyways we were rewarded with sand like flour, amazing views, too many iguanas to count, and snorkeling with baby sharks for the afternoon! The visibility wasn’t that good for snorkeling here but it was one of the most amazing beaches we’ve been at. We found it very entertaining when there was a shark in the water and someone shouted “SHARK”, you would assume you run away but here it was a signal to get your snorkel gear and get into the water at that location!!!
That night we ate at “los kioskos” which are well known locally. It is basically a street that turns into a line of tables and chairs at 6pm for the night. It is lined with local vendors each offering their catch of the day and other various offers. It was a super atmosphere and we went for a local special of grilled fish, rice and beans!
On our second day in Santa Cruz, two very tired heads stumbled out at 5.30am to tick another item off the bucket list – our first scuba dive! We went with a company called Galapagos Travellers Dive Centre and I cannot rate them highly enough. We had a safety briefing and demonstration on our way to the dive location and then a practice run in some shallower water around 2metres deep before the main event. It was a discovery dive meaning you had a guide within arms reach at all times. However not being a competent swimmer I was freaking out, certain I had made the wrong decision and wondered how I could get out of it. I was so scared that the guides eventually just pushed me out of the boat-eeeek!! It was the best thing they could have done though as it was an absolutely treat and memory that will stick with me forever and a true highlight from the Galapagos. The guides were amazing and we were very safe in all of our gear. It was surreal, we swam with sharks, numerous types of rays, turtles and so many cool fish. It was Valentine’s Day, and we were certainly feeling the love from this particular white tipped reef shark who came very close to say hello, but thankfully decided not to taste!!!
You can view some GoPro footage of our dive here (music choice by Niamh, with Gavin’s disapproval):