Sunday, July 02, 2006

Wed, 6/28:Galapagos : Santa Cruz Island, Puerto Ayora

Today we had 2 land excursions and one very shallow dive (20 feet max depth), which was actually the same dive that we did on the first day when we dove with the Sea Lions. We started our day off with our traditional 6:30am wake up bell that Freddy rings right outside everyone's door, for it seems like an hour until he moves to the next spot. After breakfast we got ready for our land excursion to the National Park of the Galapagos where we saw land and marine iguanas, a ton of sea lions and some interesting cactus that were so big that the bottom trunks looked as thick as pine trees. This little island was over 2 million years old and they could tell this from the amount of growth on the island. After this, we got back to the boat and dove Puerto Ayora where we got to play again with sea lions and there were also a ton of turtles that let us get really close to them as they nibbled on the algae on the rocks. Rose snorkeled while CP, Bill and I dove and we stayed down for over an hour playing with the sea lions and taking a ton of pictures. The sea lions got REALLY close to us... it was one of my favorite dives. Shortly after the dive we changed, ate lunch and then headed back out for our 2nd land excursion- the Darwin Research Center located on the mainland of Santa Cruz. I couldn't believe that this was the last excursion of our whole trip. Here we saw where they kept the huge tortoises where we could get close and take pictures with them. We also saw the incubators where they kept the baby turtles until they reached 5 years old and then were released from the island they came from. Its amazing how big these Galapagos turtles get! And from here, we got to tour the island only for a couple of hours and here we got to do a little bit of shopping to get gifts and souveniers and we did our share of that! The group split up and it ended up being me, Rose and CP and we sat at some little restaurant to have some cervezas and cubra libres before taking the last boat back to the Aggressor. We packed up our stuff when we got back and got ready for cocktail hour with the crew at 6:30. Here the crew dressed in their fine white uniforms and we had wine and toasted to a great dive trip with some great new friends! We followed that up by taking another boat back to the island and having dinner at one of the local restaurants, then returning back to the boat for one last night cap since we knew the bell was going to ring bright and early at 6:30am sharp.

PS- Just a side bar- when we would go back to our rooms after we dove every morning- the staff would have our beds made and our towels folded on our beds in different shapes with bon bons somewhere on it... this day was awesome- it was a stingray and we got two bon bons! Rose and I were so happy.

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