August 30, 2008
After breakfast I met Luis Molina the volunteer coordinator for the Charles Darwin Research Station. Luis had volunteered to "pick me up" to show me a few places on the island. This was a great example of cultural differences. I assumed that "pick me up," meant the he would have a personal vehicle or a Station vehicle (not many people here have personal vehicles) to take me around. I met him at the agreed upon time of 9:00 a.m. - I was a bit surprised when he rolled up on his bicycle. I tried not to show my surprise, nor did I ask if we were driving. After a short discussion we decided to go to Tortuga Bay - a park/beach/natural area. Louis assured me that it was not too far of a walk. It was about 3 km from the station to the park entrance. At the entrance you had to sign in and out so that the park officials knew that everyone was out of the park at night. I thought we were almost there; it turned out that it was another 2.5 km to the beach along a paved path that went through an Opuntia Cactus "forest." The beach was a beautiful wide sandy beach; the surf was too high for safe swimming. We had to walk another kilometer or so to Tortuga Bay. The bay was very beautiful and calm. The water, as it is in all the Galapagos, was very cold for being on the Equator. We ended up staying for a while. We walked around looking at the plants and animals - of course there were the ever-present Marine Iguanas. Luis was a great tour guide and was able to point out and name many of the plants and animals that we encountered.
On the long walk home we stopped at a restaurant frequented by locals. We had cerviche, which is a cold raw seafood soup. The soup is vinegar based and the seafood "cooks" in the acidic vinegar. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the meal.
When I got back to my room, I studied the materials that Gustavo had given me and then decided to walk into town - yes more walking! Since the next day was Sunday, and there was nothing that I could participate in going on at the Station, I decided to sign up for a commercial snorkeling trip - $90 for an all day trip.
Again, no trouble getting to sleep!