Galapagos Cruise Day 6 – Afternoon

Sunday 30th August 2015 – Afternoon

At 3pm we got into the panga with beach gears and snorkle gears. View from the panga. We were at Sombrero Chino, the southern tip of Santiago island. Those rocks we saw from the panga do look like Chinese Hats actually!

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The shore of this side of Santiago island.

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The panga dropped us on a little beach next to turquoise water.

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There were (of course!) some sea lions on the beach, two of them very cute sleeping together, one with the head on the other.

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Beautiful color of the water.

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Here was our playground for the afternoon, yihaaa!!!

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It was free time. Some went for a walk on the marked path while David, Patrick and I jumped into snorkeling gears.
I put the double wetsuit just because I am a frileuse as we say in French, I get cold easily! We saw the usual fishes again, but also a sea snake which was kind of orange with black dots on it, quite small but as we didn`t know if it was venomous,
we didn`t really get too close to him. I found it in the Reef Fish book later on. In the book it is called a tiger snake eel. During our snorkles, we often saw some of those garden eels which are displayed on the same page too actually.

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Next to the shore there were 2 baby seals and also 2 adults, maybe two mums playing. We went to play with them
but the water was really shallow so it was not really nice and also we were a bit scared of the two adults, who knows if they could get aggressive or not in the water too. Then we crossed to the other side. In the middle there was lots of current dragging us towards the left but we made it to the other side. There Patrick spotted a white tip reef shark which was huge, maybe 1.50m to 2m. It was 1 or 2 meters below us and cruising around slowly so we followed it for about 30 minutes. Even if we knew that normally the white tip doesn`t attack humans, not like the tiger shark or bull shark or even worse the white shark, we still freaked out a bit when he turned around and faced us and came back in our direction, simply because it was a really big shark and quite impressive.
In that area, there was also a rock on which it was Mac Donald`s frenzy, hundreds of fishes munching like crazy.
We had fun diving under and going in the middle of them, having a curtain of fishes in front of our eyes, King Angelfish, lots of Razor fishes, some parrot fishes. We also saw the same type of snake as before next to there and another one later.
Patrick had seen under which rock the white tip shark had gone so we went to check out the rock. I dived down to go see under the rock, and here it was, moving towards my direction. I freaked out and swam away. We decided to not bother him too much. We started crossing back towards the beach. In the middle there was a ray, quite big, at the bottom, maybe a marble ray. We lingered around above it to dive down and go see it closer.
It was interesting to have it as a reference point because when we chatted at the surface and put back our masks, we looked down again and could see we were already 10 meters away from it, we had drifted with the current really fast. Then we crossed back to the beach. A small seal came to play a bit but didn’t stay that long.
Then the panga came to pick us up, it was probably around 5pm. We went back to the boat and had some snacks waiting for us, some little sandwiches with cheese and ham. What an awesome boat, so many times little snacks waiting for us when we come back from the snorkle. So cool. Patrick went to take the shower first and while waiting I sat on the white chairs at the front of the boat, watching the sea.

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I saw 2 manta rays jumping really high, and then another one further away. I turned to the captain who was in the cabin behind me and asked: “Manta rays?” to confirm I had not just been dreaming but he confirmed “yeah, manta rays!”. I was so happy. But we didn`t see any again and when I asked him later on, he said he had not seen any again. So lucky. Went for a shower and then met everyone upstairs at the bar and the long chairs, some sipping a beer, some reading books.

Went to put my swimming suit to dry on the upper deck, and there were 2 massive fregate birds flying in the wind right above the boat. So beautiful birds. Galapagos is really a magical place. You think you have seen enough in a day and even more magic happens, like those birds flying like this just above the upper deck or the manta rays seen before jumping out of the water. Crazy place, really.

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After that, we retreated to write the day before the dinner, so we would be done with our “homework” but mostly make sure we would capture another crazy “3 days in one day” on paper – computer to not forget. I have been happily writing every day and I am so glad I did as otherwise if I had written at the end, I would never have managed to write down half of what happened!

Dinner main.

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After dinner we had the briefing about the next day.
This time I took some photos. Here is Carlos explaining us about the next day. He was a really great guide. He was speaking an almost perfect English and mostly had a talent to spoke slowly, captivate his audience, and tell us about things. He is a local, grew up on San Cristobal island and you could tell he was absolutely passionate about the Galapagos and happy to be there and share about these islands. When someone is so passionate, it is amazing how this passion gets to you, it creates amazing good vibes in a group to have such an awesome guide!

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And us, listening. Everyone looks tired or thoughtful on these shots but we were more exhausted of the snorkeling or waking up, most of the time I think we were just like little children to who someone tells a wonderful magical story.

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Lucy and Tatiana on my right

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To my left.

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After that, chilled out at the bar upstairs and then went to bed, awesomely tired.