galapagos - santa cruz day 1 and 2 - chilling and diving

  • plane to galapagos
  • leaving airport island
  • hair is going curly and i'm darker than ever
  • arriving at main island
  • bay in main island
  • pelican looking for scraps
  • local seal
  • chilling with the locals
  • big ass fish
  • a storm be brewing
  • feeling pensive
  • lobsters anybody
  • near-empty, soft, white, sandy beach
  • lonely footsteps
  • marine iguana
  • more iguanas - they spit
  • loads of iguanas -  a lot of spitting goign on
  • blue footed boobie
  • i like sunsets - play a tortuga
  • dive crew
  • lots of fish
  • spotted rays
  • white tipped reef shark
  • these guys are so cool - they have what looks like massive buck teeth
  • time to pose underwater
  • giant manta
  • didn't see this booooo
  • sea plants - no idea what they're called
  • being chased
  • friendly turtle
  • loads of baracuda
  • the face next to the fish is mine
  • all geared up
  • well chuffed

On the 7th of August, I finally flew into the Galapagos Island, and more specifically Santa Cruz Island, the main island of the group. Main aim: dive with hammerhead sharks, snorkel with sea lions and turtles at Baya Tortuga, and surf with sea lions also at Baya Tortuga, before heading off to another island called San Cristobal.

I landed on Barta at about midday, and after catching a bus to a small port on this uninhabited island, I boarded a short ferry to the main island from where I took a bus to Puerto Aeryo - the main village on the island. The taxi drivers at the port were bastards, telling me that the bus that was there was not going to run and they would take me to Aeryo for 5 dollars. I told them I'd wait for the next bus, and in the mean time the supposedly "not leaving" bus left without me. So I had to wait for the next one - after cursing them a few times.

On arriving at Puerto Aeryo I checked into Hotel Elisabeth, which is a tad more expensive than I've gotten used to over the past few months, at 15 dollars per night, but still the cheapest option I could get. After checking in I did my rounds to find out how the surf is and where best to go. I also then booked myself onto 2 dive trips the next day to hopefully spot the hammerheads.

In the afternoon I walked to a deserted beach and hung out with some iguanas, watching the sun set and looking at what appears to be a decent little wave to surf. Didn't surf it because I've made promises to several people that I won't surf alone. On my way back I popped into the place where the fisherman come to show show off/sell that day's catch. The local seal was there getting loads of attention from the tourists - I of course joined in giving it loads of attention. Headed to bed pretty early for my early dives the next morning.

Dive 1 - Gordon's rock

It's been 3 years now since I last dived in Mozambique and those dives were pretty spectacular, and were always going to be hard to beat. The sea was rough, and the visibility was pretty crap. Couple this with my nervousness over not having dived in ages made and the result was nowhere near what I hoped for. Before our first dive the divemaster took me in the water for about 5 minutes to go over those basics that are so easily forgotten. Glad he did this cause otherwise I would have been screwed.

We got back onto the boat and headed out for another few minutes until reaching Gordon's rocks. These are 2 massive rocks (or tiny islands for that matter) in the middle of the sea. We jumped in and headed for the bottom. In comparison to Mozambique I think I saw way more little reef fish, but that's not why I came here. At one point the whole group, except me, saw a white tipped shark. At the time I was staring at some pansy assed colourful little fish and when the others finally got my attention the shark was gone.

On the plus side, a couple of minutes later we saw a big school of rays, just floating around. This was really impressive and the divemaster, Hugo, got a great video clip of this. My air ran out fairly quickly but we were still underwater for a good 40 minutes and we battled some heavy currents down there.

Dive 2 - back to Gordon's rock
After having lunch on the boat and chilling out for about an hour, we got ready for our second dive at Gordon's rock. The dive guides assured us that this time we would see the hammerheads because it was high tide and blah blah blah. Not sure how much these guys no about these waters because by the time we got back to Gordon's Rock, it was definitely high tide, but there was also a huge swell that was definitely making the lunch in my stomach want to make a quick exit from the same entry point. I figured we would abandon the dive but the guys told us to get ready. In we went.

Some people struggled quite a bit with the entry into the water because of the huge waves. My solution - I jumped in and headed straight down to avoid the rollercoaster on the surface. By now the visibility was even worse than the morning dive, so my hopes of seeing anything remotely exciting had dwindled. On reaching the bottom, there were even more of this little colourful fish and a few big colourful ones too. I even spotted what I think may have been a devil fish. I felt a lot more relaxed on this dive and rather than worrying about doing things right I was just enjoying myself. Once again, my group spotted another type of reef shark and I missed it. This time, I was bored of watching the little pansy assed fish and was basically floating around in a bit of a day dream, doing underwater twirls, playing with my bubbles etc. so by the time the guys got my attention, again the shark was gone - I'd say they're lying bastards except they showed me the photo to prove it. A while later we drifted over a big school of spotted rays. Absolutely beautiful creatures, and I got so close to them I could have had a bit of a feel. Then, towards the end of our dive, I made the spot of the day (for our group anyway) - a giant manta ray swimming right behind us, with 2 sucker fish cleaning it. I tried making loads of nose so the others would turn around and eventually they did and gave me huge thanks back on the boat. It was cool seeing the manta, but in Mozambique I dived amongst a school of about 10 of them for a few minutes, so this couldn't beat that experience.

In the afternoon I walked over to Playa Tortuga to have a look at the surf and to spot a few marine iguanas and the blue footed boobie. Saw both of them. Only one boobie, but hundreds of iguanas. And these guys spit....a whole lot. And they smell like absolute crap. It's a beautiful beach and hoping to go out the next day and spend they day there surfing on the rough side, and snorkelling on the calm side. Also bumped into some people from Mancora on the beach and arranged to go out with them for dinner - extremely random.

All in all, not the most amazing dives ever, but I have a good few days left here and I am adamant that I will dive with the hammerheads and hopefully see a couple of reef sharks - preferably when I'm underwater and not when I'm surfing!