Day 25: New Island! New Adventures!
Today was a great day. Mostly because we got to wake up at around 5 am for our boat ride to Isabela, one of the other islands in the Galapagos. Isabela is the biggest island in the Galapagos, but its also a two-hour boat ride from Santa Cruz, and ferries to the island only leave twice a day. So at 5 am in the morning Jean and our trusty guide Jose Carlos led us to the docs to catch the all important ferry. Not even the sea lions at the docs could liven up our group from our early morning drowsiness. However, once we got onto the speed boat and started plowing through the waves we were all quickly woken up by the jolts and jumps of the boat. After an uneventful ride in which thankfully none of us threw up or fell overboard, we all arrived safely at Isabela. Our hotel was only a five-minute walk from the pier along the main road, and they had consistent hot water! Already five-star worthy. Jose Carlos helped us get settled and then set us free to explore the island and grab lunch in town. The town was mostly along one main street that ran parallel to a gorgeous beach front. There were plenty of great view points and lots of cool rock outcroppings with tens of iguanas perched upon them. It was amazing to see how much different Isabela felt from Santa Cruz. There were much less people about, especially on the beaches, and the island was more calm and scenic.
After lunch Jose was able to find a bike shop where we could rent bikes to go to the Wall of Tears. Despite its dramatic name the wall wasn’t much to look at. However, it did have a powerful history behind it. The wall was basically built to separate the island into the inhabitable half and the half that was harder to live in and almost certain death for people who tried to live there for extended periods of time. The wall was built stone by stone by prisoners sent from Ecuador after World War 2. Prisoners with harsher sentences were condemned to live on the harsher side and those with lighter sentences could live on the more inhabitable side. Construction of the wall stopped when one of the parts of the wall collapsed on the head guard of the prison. Next to the wall was a long upwards climb of over 300 steps that led to an amazing viewpoint of the island. From this point you could see the giant volcano, Sierra Negra, as well as a large part of the coastline and some of the town. The view was truly breathless. After leaving the wall of tears we biked back to a lesser known beach that was accessible only through a small path in the mangroves. There we waded out into the sea, through the trees and caught another amazing view of the ocean before the sun set.
At dinner we finally celebrated the birthdays of both Olivias on our trip. We had a cake for each one and an amazing dinner at the hotel to accompany them. The chef used fresh passion fruit in making the frosting so it was extra delicious. After dinner some of the people retired early for snorkeling the next day while others decided to go out for some drinks by the beach. We found a nice place with hummocks and even a little treehouse by the ocean were we celebrated our arrival on a new island, and the birthdays.