Galapagos Dives from Santa Cruz – Days 1,2 and 3

Tuesday 1st September 2015

So the cruise was over and we were in a bus going away from the airport where we had dropped the rest of the San Jose family and with Dave, Linda and Patrick, we were off to the boat with final destination Puerto Ayora. Here was the road. The landscape reminded me a lot of Western Australia, I shared that thought with David who is from Melbourne and he had exactly the same thought.

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We got to the pier. The boat you see leaving is a similar one to the one we were about to take for 1 dollar for a 15 minutes ride from Baltra to Santa Cruz pier.

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When we arrived there were so many people coming back from Santa Cruz, waiting to jump on our bus to go to the airport. Rush hours in the Galapagos, oh my…

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So we took that mini boat and got to Santa Cruz. On that mini boat we met Yida who was from Chinese descendants but living in Sydney and had just done a day cruise which started on one boat and then she moved to the red catamaran we had seen in the morning when going to North Seymour. She was living in Sydney. Perfect, she completed the Ozzie living team, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney line-up 🙂

When we got there, we jumped in a taxi with Dave, Linda and Patrick as it was a 30 minutes ride to Puerto Ayora. Here was the road, very similar again to Western Australia.

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We got to the Flamingo hostel where we dropped our stuff. Yida arrived later and was staying in front in another hostel. She was keen on going diving too. We all chilled out in the lounge area of the Flamingo hostel, everyone was so happy to have…WiFi!!! Whooohoooo. After a week without the 21st century oxygen!! Dave was checking out the dive clubs on tripadvisor and reading some reviews to us. One guy in a complaint was complaining he got lost under water that was funny. We really dragged on forever in that lounge ahah, we were just like zombies. We finally took off, and ate some empanadas from the shop in front. Then we moved to the sea front and went around again. We decided to book with Macarron Dive Centre who was going to Daphne and Mosquera the next day. Departure 7am and return 3pm. After that, we needed…money!! There are 3 ATMS in Puerto Ayora. The best one Pinchara never worked, so we used Banco  Bolivariano which was charging 2 USD per withdrawal and which offered a withdrawal of 400 USD max. If that one wasn`t working either, then we used the left one, Banco del Pacifico but maximum withdrawal was 200 USD and it was charging 6 USD, so annoying!

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Then we went again to Macaron to pay for the dives. Right in front of Macaron dive centre was…the fish market. Awsome location. We had fun again watching this live reality show, the “Santa Cruz Fish Market show”. 🙂

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Then Linda, Dave and Yida went to the beach. With Patrick we were keen on WiFi and stopped in a cafe where we literally spent the entire afternoon doing nothing, just drinking some coffee, chatting and surfing the WiFi. Somehow, our bodies could go nowhere. Oh and it kept moving around us, this sensation of still being on the boat was so weird. We had a mixed ceviche for lunch.

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Life was going on around us. One guy had at the back of his trunk some peluches on wheels like this horse that he was selling to people coming to buy it for their kids.

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Kids were playing nearby.

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Men were playing volleyball on the courts next to the guy making art with cigarette butts, next to the pier where we had taken the panga back several times.

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When Dave, Linda and Yida came back from the beach, we were still in the same spot, ahah. When you travel long, you just need those “days off” where we seat in a spot and don’t move from it, no matter what you do in that spot, whether you read a book, whether you stare at whatever is happening around you, whether you are on emails or surfing the net, or blogging, your mind needs those days “of the travel”, I find them vital in order to continue travelling with a fresh mindset. Otherwise you keep going forever without stopping a minute,  I find that just not sustainable personally, you would either become worn out or oblivious to everything amazing happening around you. I have met many long-term travellers who feel like this too. So when they arrived back from the beach, we moved and went back to the hostel, had a shower and then later went together to a street market. With Yida we shared a beer and shared a tasty lobster dish.

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Wednesday 2nd September 2015 – Diving Daphne and Mosquera

We were at Macaron Dive Centre at 7am and a taxi picked us up and drove us to the harbour north of the island where we had arrived the day before from Baltra. The very funny thing on Santa Cruz is that there is a micro-climate in the middle of the island where it always rain!!! So strange!!!

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After that rainy part the road continued, Western Australia landscape style. We got to the pier. Here was Macaron passing gears to Nati, another dive master. This was the boat we were about to go on to go diving.

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Patrick, Dave and Yida waiting to get on the boat.

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On the boat, Nati was making a mate. She is half Ecuadorian and half Argentinian. For her, the Argentinian mate is vital. It is lots of herbs put together with hot water, which makes it very bitter. They drink it with all this metal gear. She was telling us how when she was at university in Argentina, drinks were not allowed in class, except the mate. That everyone drinks mate there, it is just part of life. It was cool to hear someone from there tell us about habits and customs.

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We got to Mosquera.

While putting our 5mm wetsuits and hood and boots and getting into our diving gears, we saw…a killer whale (orque in French), so close from the boat!!! I just had time to snap this shot. I had never seen one, it was really exciting. Macaron told us that he had seen them only 6 times in his entire diving experience here! However, the bad thing is that when there is a killer whale around…the marine life tends to run away!!! Not good for us!

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In the first minutes of the dive, Patrick spotted a hammerhead shark but it went away really fast. Now, I need to get a hold of the diving log pages I forgot at the hostel to write here what we saw during this first dive. Will edit this article later!

Getting to Daphne Menor.

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During the second dive, we saw lots of white tip sharks at the beginning. They were all hanging around at the beginning of a wall next to a small cave under water and we could get really close to observe them, that was really cool. Will have to come back to that post for the rest!

We came back to shore around 1.30pm. Drove back to Puerto Ayora, there is a section with a dirt road.

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Had fun watching the fish market again.

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Here is Macaron uploading the video he took during the dives on his computer. He is a fantastic video maker, he gave us the videos after which make awesome memories. I like how the diver painted is diving with an extinctor bottle on its back.

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In the evening with Patrick and Yida we went for a massive burger at a place called Chris` burger. We actually didn’t even know that the burgers were that big there!

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After burger, it was around 9pm and we were exhausted by the dives, it is crazy how diving drains your energy. So well we just went to bed early!

Thursday 3rd September 2015 – Diving at Gordon`s Rock

We were at 6.30am at Macaron`s dive centre. Same as the day before, got into a taxi which drove us from Puerto Ayora to the pier in the north of the island, we saw the rainy micro-climate again in the centre of the island.

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Got to the boat and waited that other divers arrived and that the boat was ready to go.

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Like the day before, while waiting we enjoyed the show of hundreds of bobbies diving into the water like torpedos at the same time together. It was just taking one of them to whistle in a certain way about fishes for all of them to follow that bird and be synchronised. Fascinating! How did they know that this bird was right? How does this bird become the leader or can any bird be the leader telling the other birds about fishes? What if they contradict each other, does that happen? Do all birds then bump into each other?

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After diving, they all swim at the surface one next to each other, swallowing water and maybe small fishes too.

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And then they fly again around, waiting for the next whistle. So fascinating to watch!

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So we went on the boat and did 2 dives at Gordon`s Rock and I`ll wait to have my log book pages handy to update that section of the article too about what we saw!

After the dives, same as the day before, we came back around 2pm, then jumped into a taxi, and crossed again the very cool Galapago-Western Australiano liketype landscape.

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In the evening, Patrick was so tired he just grabbed some empanadas and went to bed. With Yida, we went for dinner and had some lobster again.

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We were pretty exhausted too and went to bed right after dinner, probably asleep around 9pm or 9.30pm!

Tomorrow diving again with Macaron for a third day dives in a row, at North Seymour this time!