Yesterday we had another amazing day on Isla Isabela, heading out on a tour to Los Tuneles- amazing rock formations in the ocean formed by lava flow however many millions of year ago.
We set off at about 9 in the morning on a nice big boat with about 5 other tourists and started heading west along the coast of Isabela. Soon enough we came across a big group of turtles swimming by and one literally went under the boat and its shell hit the propeller, which we then had to change. We’re going to assume that the turtle is ok because those shells are really hard and we didn’t see any different.
While we were on our way to Los Tuneles we also saw a huge animal breach right out of the water, which I thought was a whale but turns out was a huge manta ray. We stopped off in a little bay where we swam around with turtles for an hour or so. At one point I was swimming with three huge turtles all by myself while they just coasted along and munched on seaweed. We also saw some white tip sharks, sting rays and a huge lobster that we were tempted to catch, but it turns out we were in a national park… who knew?
We jumped back in the boat and were on our way to the next snorkeling spot when I spotted what I thought was a huge shark fin sticking out of the water. Turns out (once again) that it was a huge manta ray swimming close to the surface. The driver of the boat told us to jump in and swim after the manta rays to see them. We jumped in and as soon as we looked down there was a massive manta directly below us – seriously huge – I think the wing span was around three to four meters. It was amazing – I actually screamed through my snorkel.
From there we stopped at another spot where we snorkeled around and through the amazing lava tunnels and had a very cute and inquisitive seal come up to play with the group. We also jumped off the boat and wandered around the amazing formations – huge rocks surrounded by clear blue water that form bridges and tunnels and are covered in cacti. You can see the photo below where we jumped off and into the water – no joke we were about 1 minute shy of hitting our second turtle of the day. Once we jumped in and were swimming back to the rock a fairly large turtle came swimming across the exact spot where we landed.
Today we have a day of “transit”, island hopping from Isabel back to Santa Cruz and then on to San Cristobal this afternoon where we have another 5 or so days of exploring. Diving and surfing will be the order of the next five days. We’ve ticked a lot of animals off the Galapagos list – the next priority is a school of hammerhead sharks, preferably ones that have recently fed on some fish.