Tintoreras, the hell of the marine iguana


Today we celebrate a week in Galapagos and every day has been totally different from the previous one and a surprise, especially in relation to its fauna, from our sea ‚Äč‚Äčlions of La Lobería in San Cristobaluntil the Galapagos giant tortoise from Santa Cruz, going by unique endemic iguanas in Santa Fe or one of the smallest penguins on the planet in Bartholomew.However there is a creature that we have talked about above and today takes on special prominence. We talk about the marine iguana and today we enter his hell ... !!Dry cleaners in Isabela Island!!

But first we had to take another fast fiber (or speedboat) very early, which would take us from Santa Cruz Island to a new base in Isabela.

The fast fiber from Santa Cruz to Isabela

Open your eyes on Monte Mar (which we will talk about later) is a privilege for anyone. We're at the top of Santa Cruz, in an area where population and giant Galapagos turtles! they live sharing habitat

It is very early, 6 in the morning, but with the light of the first rays of the sun in the fog, this amazing animal that we met better the other day already "pasta" in the fields.

Reyna dismisses us, and Roberto is already waiting for us in the van to approach Puerta Ayora. It only took 20 minutes, but you have to be 15 minutes before 7 (there is another one at noon, you have all the data in) for the tedious task of inspecting luggage between islands, especially at this point that everything is already under pressure (Ay Paula, as you are missing, haha). Our journey will take us to Isabela Island, with a duration of between 2 hours and 2 hours, depending on the sea, on a route similar to the following ...

AND the sea does not accompany today, although we have followed the advice of our hosts, and we have decided not to have breakfast until our arrival, nor is it that the fast fiber between islands (or speedboat) is the "best invention" in the world, so that we deceive ourselves.

As friend Sele would say, who has a worse navigation but survives, Galapagos is very beautiful ...! But you have to suffer these boats!

Isabela Island, our third and last base

We were saying a week ago that we would try to move between islands and base on the three main populations that allow it (without going on a cruise): Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Puerto Ayora and Puerto Villamil. From them we have raised really exciting tours and excursions and, without a doubt at this point, it is a different and more economical way to know the spirit of the Galapagos that we dare to recommend for all those who have less purchasing power. Welcome to Isabela!

Isabela however has a small difference from the other two and is that Puerto Villamil is not located right next to the port and you have to pay a small fee (5 USD) and take a taxi (1 USD) to arrive. In addition, the fishing spirit is much more breathed than it was Galapagos, where mass tourism has not yet arrived, just with some excursions, and a small road to a volcano, so to know it in depth it requires a yacht or cruise . Do youIguanas crossing?

Past Pueblo Villamil there is a particular sign that we had never seen and that attracts our attention. Marine iguanas (yes, those that have learned to swim to survive), cross from a beach open to the sea to a kind of freshwater marshland where salinity is removed and rest.

Right in this place there is a spectacular hotel calledIguana Crossing Boutique Hotel, one of the best valued by travelers and that we will use as the perfect base for these days

Doubts of our choice? Possibly, next to the Finch Bay (due to its isolation from Puerto Ayora), it is one of the relaxing options offered by Galapagos, with a nearby beach. Of course we are not in a sun and beach destination, but if we can have a "disconnection" time, why not do it?

And that we do, but not before catching up on the possibilities offered by Isabela

Excursions in Isabela:

- The tunnels: One of the essentials. 1 hour ride by speedboat to lava formations that carved a kind of tunnels into which the sea and life entered. Boobies (including their nests), penguins, sea lions, large sea turtles ... 1 Snorkell. 60-80 USD and 10 USD neoprene rental
- Sierra Negra volcano: Long walk. Trekking. Geological formations
- Dry cleaners: Islet in front of the pier where canals full of this species of shark and a demonic place of marine iguanas. 1 Snorkell 30-40 USD
- Trillisos Volcanoes:: Rappelling up to 120 and 150 meters. 30 USD including complete equipment.

It is curious to walk along a wooden path that "flies over" the marsh.

Here we see, for the first time in the adventure, how marine iguanas swim in total freedom, moving their tail agilely.

It is extraordinary how nature makes its way and even the smallest being, who sailed centuries ago from the detachments of trunks and branches of the continental coast, learned to swim and even hold his breath underwater for many minutes, in order to survive.

There we leave them in their day to day in that pinkish-looking pond, because we We headed back to the dock where we will leave this morning towards the islet of Tintoreras. Of course, sea lions remain the kings of beaches, docks and even urban furniture

It is only 5 minutes away, so we only need a boat to take us. Perfect for a day like today

Our first snorkel in Isabela

If there were to recommend somewhere to snorkel simply in Isabela, the first would be Dry cleaners (and the second Tunnels where we decided to go tomorrow). Our small boat skips the rocks that give access to the most protected part, where dozens of blue-footed boobies and pelicans perch at this time, always on the lookout for good fishing.

I think I agree with my partner and good friend Sele when we say that the blue-footed booby is one of our favorite animals. Beautiful, slender, peculiar and at times friendly. It is a pity that it is the only animal that we continue to see from a distance. We would love to be able to get closer!

But even more extraordinary still proves to be an expectant of the perfect coexistence of wildlife, not only with the man he does not fear, but among themselves. Blue-footed boobies, sharks, turtles, iguanas ... and even some clueless penguin like the one we saw yesterday

When entering a protected area we have skipped the wetsuit today, although it is advisable to always take one (it costs just 10 USD to rent it). Who is the brave one who goes first?

What to say about snorkeling? Awesome. Dozens of sea turtles surround us on all sides and swim panchaly around us. It may sound repetitive with other days, but we have not been in a more privileged scenario than Galapagos to interact with marine life from the moment you jump into the water ...

... and none in which according to anything you can find! A marine iguana raffling your head to make its way! Wowww

But our goal of the day was a very different one.

Tintoreras, the shark that sleeps during the day

We disembarked between black rocks formed from lava dyed white dyes We do not understand.

In pre-warning, we begin to see dozens of marine iguanas of the blackest color that we have found so far, whose function is to go unnoticed within this environment. Mothers and young gather in the most vertical part of a small canal that crosses one of the islets of the islet

Despite their challenging appearance, they do not change or alter our path. I would even say that his behavior is of total ignorance to our presence

It is another congregation, that of the canal, which gives its name to the islet. Many others dozens of dry cleaners they clump together in every little hole that the rocks leave in the shallow strait.

Except some that makes a kind of guard, they all sleep. The dyer is a curious shark of small size and long nose, which barely eats other small fish, squid, groupers, herring or mackerel and does not represent any danger to man. Surprising is knowing that they are great migrants, being able to reach 5,500 km.

But the aspect of this scenario changes completely as we enter the interior of the island, which we still did not know what was going to bring us

The intense blue of the protected part of Tintoreras was transformed into black sand and an atmosphere, at least, rarefied

Tintoreras, the hell of the marine iguana

A inhospitable place serves as an accomplice for, not already tens, but hundreds of little devilish-looking creatures that remain impassive

Not without some respect we approach them. They sunbathe at this time. There are copies! Huge! that look like real dragons that can weigh 1.5 kilos and measure more than 1 meter long

The belief of its infernal origin takes veracity when we learn that they are able to stop their heart without risk. It is amazing! One thing is to slow it down like other lizards do not lose heat but ... stop it?

Females and young are not as swimmers as males and feed when the tide drops. Despite his "few friends" face, they barely eat seaweed even if it's hard to believe

We would not understand that no other animal wanted to eat a similar creature but, just in case, in addition to its particular camouflage it has a kind of thorns to protect itself from predators since they move very awkwardly on land

It doesn't even have to say they are endemic to Galapagos and although we previously mentioned its evolution to survive, there are historians who maintain that they come from the largest dinosaurs that existed millions of years ago. What part of reality will be in it?

Despite the satanic enclave that is Tintoreras, the visit has fascinated us so much that our boatmates have been waiting for us for a while and they call us in the distance. Select hurry up! We stayed here to sleep and it is not my ideal paradise to sleep under the moon. Just in 5 minutes, Isabela receives us again (ahem, more or less ...)

We didn't know there was another place in the world that applied so well the "SIESTA" concept but as we saw in Puerto Ayora or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, here it takes to rajatabla

A late lunch awaits us at the Iguana Crossing where we are already installed

An afternoon between mangroves. The Turtle Breeding Center

A day of such excitement has had a much quieter afternoon in which We decided to find out where the mangrove path led.

We cross wooden platforms and paths of stone and sand in a pleasant walk accompanied by a great variety of animal life, especially birds, herons, ducks and finches

And at the end of the road? Other Galapagos Turtle Breeding Center or Interpretation Center, where as in San Cristobal or Santa Cruz we saw the other day, we see that excellent work has been done to repopulate the islands of past damage

In this, in particular, we see turtles of all ages in different enclosures that usually have a mother and several offspring that release them from 5-8 years to live

The statistical data is surprising. From 48-50 released in the first years, in this last release they have released nature !! almost 1000 turtles !!, with what the survival of the species is being achieved, which on the other hand ...! have the face of true E.T.s! (Would Spielberg be inspired by them for his film?)

And now the question of the day ... Could we turn on the Jacuzzi on the terrace? Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. The Iguana Crossing has "some privileges" to finish a full day in a very relaxed way. Right, friend Sele?

Already at night, after an exquisite dinner in a kind of luxury lounge-bar, I now compile these lines without forgetting that dark image of Tintoreras. Perhaps more for the surprise that we have taken than for the scenario itself, and that is that in Galapagos every day is different. Tomorrow we expect what they say is the best tour of all the islands! Tunnels

Isaac, from Puerto Villamil - Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 6 USD (approx 4.96 EUR, fiber, meals and excursion included with accommodation in final budget)