Ecuador Trip: Day 19
Galapagos Cruise: Day 14
Our Galapagos cruise was technically 15 days long. However, the last day (Day 15) was also the day we flew back to Quito and then began a very long journey home (during which I barely slept a wink). So by Day 14 the knowledge that we were nearly at “The End” was bearing down on me and making me a little sad. But I was also determined to soak every ounce of enjoyment out of the trip that I could. Like I said in my last Galapagos post, I thought Floreana would be all about showing us Post Office Bay. But we had an extra treat. And while our guide explained our underground excursion the previous evening, Cindiana Jones didn’t really realize what she was getting into until she, well, got into it.
First, we visited Baroness Viewpoint on Floreana Island. We had a lovely walk and snapped photos of bird life. There is a legend about the first inhabitants of the islands that is full of intrigue, mystery and maybe even murder! According to our itinerary, we would learn about the legend at Baroness Viewpoint (thereby named because a baroness once lived there). However, our guide wasn’t into relating negative stories about the islands. For example, on Isabela Island during Week 1, according to our itinerary, we were supposed to visit the Wall of Tears, which is evidence of a wall built by prisoners back when Isabela Island was a penal colony. We wound up visiting another area of Isabela that was replete with beautiful mangroves, but we didn’t see what was left of the wall at all, which is too bad, because to me that would have been interesting. If the Wall of Tears or Baroness Viewpoint is on your itinerary, you are free to ask your guide about it. I didn’t ask our guide about either, because I was too busy enjoying nature. But I would have enjoyed visiting and learning about the Wall of Tears.
After Baroness Viewpoint, we visited Post Office Bay, where 18th century whalers placed a wooden barrel as an unofficial mailbox. Since the Galapagos National Park started receiving visitors, people from all over the world have brought postcards to the Barrel Post Office to leave for future guests to find. The staff of The Cormorant provided us postcards for this purpose. Yes, it’s basically a touristy thing now, but it’s fun.
After the post office visit, our guide took us to the underground cave that we were going to explore. He had told us about the visit in advance, and while every member of our group went to Floreana, not all went down into the cave, for good reason (like, say, if you have bad knees). Unless you had a headlamp or were constantly snapping pictures, it was very, very dark. It was pitch black! And the descent into the cave was extremely steep. Here’s Harry trying to get us to follow him down into the cave:
At other times of the year, the water is even deeper. And when it’s deeper, I think it might be warmer, too. Harry insisted that the water during our visit was far too cold for him to swim to the very back of the cave. Would no one swim to the very back of the cave to see how far it extended? Only one person. My husband! He took a tiny little flashlight with him and swam until he reached the narrowing at the other end. I was a trifle concerned, because this is what it looks like when your husband is swimming away from you to the end of a cave where God knows how many trolls lurk:
At this point, we had taken a bunch of group pictures and we were getting hungry! So the group made its way back to the surface. However, My Liege, Rembrandt and I loitered behind the group. We wanted to see what it felt like to totally be the only three people down there. We knew approximately where the others were ahead of us, but we left enough time and space so that we started singing (I think it was “Oh, Canada!”) as we were climbing out of the cave, and apparently none of the group ahead of us heard us! You know what this means, don’t you? If my husband had chosen that moment to clunk me over the head and then say I’d tripped, no one other than my brother-in-law would have heard him commit the dastardly dead. However, I can be charming when I want to, believe it or not, so I escaped from the cave unscathed.
Day 19 was a very busy day! We had our last snorkeling excursion, however, I have no pictures because Rembrandt’s old underwater camera had busted by that point. We had a nice lunch and then continued to Cormorant Point, where a last surprise was in store for us. My husband wasn’t feeling well, so he stayed behind while I accompanied the group to the Point. When my parents visited the Galapagos at the turn of the century, they saw a lot of flamingoes in the lagoons on Cormorant Point. I don’t know why, maybe they were just shy, but we saw only one flamingo from very, very far away during our trek to a nice sandy beach that looked like this:
We thought we were just going on a walk. It’s really too bad My Liege missed this part, because it was amazing. Our guide told us to wander into the water, but not to take big steps. To shuffle our feet along the ocean floor. What he didn’t tell us but left us to experience for ourselves was that every time the tide rushed in, like you can see above, it brought dozens of rays with it! When you’re standing there and the water comes in, you can’t see the rays, but when the water rolls out again, it’s incredible:
A close-up of a ray:
We made our way back to the boat and enjoyed a sociable evening. However, everyone trekked to bed by 9 p.m. For one thing, all that exploring is exhausting. For another, we knew we had a wake-up call for 5 a.m. the next morning, because we were all flying out of the airport on Baltra, which meant we needed to return to Santa Cruz first.
Awwwwwwwww, Galapagos, it is nearly time to say goodbye. Except, first we had to visit Lonesome George. Little did we know that the famous century-plus-old giant tortoise would pass away a couple of months after our cruise. So we were amongst the last Galapagos visitors to see him. I’m glad George waited for me, because seeing him was on my Bucket List. It didn’t occur to me to make the list more general (like Visit the Galapagos). Learn from me, people! Learn from me!