Cruising Around Santa Cruz
Today we split up into two groups. This marks the first time that all 18 of us officially separated for a extended period of time since the start of the dialogue. One group took the day to explore Bartholomew while the other group, my group, had the day to explore Santa Cruz.
Our guide, Jose, showed us some really amazing spots around the island! We started off the day with a visit to the Charles Darwin exhibit. We were fortunate enough to have a Galapagos naturalist show us around exhibit and tell us a little about the Galapagos tortoises and some history of the island. Although Lonesome George passed away a few years ago, we were still able to see a great number of the giant tortoises. The naturalist also showed us some the the indigenous plants on the island, specifically the different types of scalasias.
After spending some time at the exhibit, we took a small boat across the harbor and began walking through a collection of salt flats. The ground was covered in a red dust, lava rocks, salt deposits, and very large cacti. The landscape looked very Mars-like and we weren’t really sure where we were walking to. After about 20 minutes of walking we arrived at Las Grietas. This was an a channel of water that cut through very tall, beautiful red rocks. Our guide told us it was formed by a collapsed volcano. The water was very clear and very cold but we swam down the channel and saw schools of parrot fish below us and cascading rocks above us.
After leaving Las Grietas, we stopped by a supermarket to grab some food for lunch. We then began the long walk to Tortuga Beach. This was similar to the walk to Las Grietas, but much further. We walked for about 45 minutes through a similar Mars-like landscape. But the long walk was worth it! Tortuga Beach was one of the most pristine beaches I have ever seen. The water was calm and shallow so we could walk out really far, and bright green mangrove trees traced the coast making for an amazing landscape. We spent the rest of the day eating lunch on the beach, relaxing in the water, adding to our sketch books, and recording videos. The beach closed at 5 pm and needless to say our group was the last to leave.
We met back with the other group when we arrived at the hotel. They all look sunburned and tired, but it sounds like they saw some really cool things today! Excited to explore Bartholomew tomorrow, hoping to see some Blue-Footed Boobies.