Isabela: Caleta Tagus … Darwin’s Lake Walk

Tuesday, July 10 (Part IV)

After the zodiac portion of our afternoon activity (post here), we headed to the landing site for a short walk.  This was our only opportunity to walk on Isabela Island. 

The landing was described as a tricky, dry landing.  Tricky it was in that the zodiac nosed up to the shoreline and we had to step out onto wet rocks that could be slippery.  Just before we debarked the panga, the crewman on shore put down a wet Celebrity beach towel to help with traction, so it turned out to be not too bad after all.

Nosing up to these rocks, we’ll land for our short walk.
Note the graffiti on the rocks.  is it all historic? …

… I don’t think so.  Some of these are dated 2007; and I think Flugt 77 is a reference to
the American Airlines flight that was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11.
So much for graffiti being prohibited now :-(

The walk began with 150 steep steps.  Taking it slow, most of us made it up OK, but at least one person in the group gave up and returned to the landing site instead of continuing the short distance to the lake.

These steep steps lead to an overlook with a view of Caleta Tagus.

The path to the Darwin’s Lake overlook was narrow and followed the rim of a volcanic tuff cone.  Darwin mentions swimming in this crater lake when he visited the island in 1835.  It is thought that the crater was filled by a tidal wave resulting from the eruption of a volcano on neighboring Fernandina Island.  (History does record an eruption that took place in 1825.)  About 60 feet (18 m) deep, the lake is saltier than the surrounding sea water.  This is attributed to the fact that as the water in the lake evaporates, it leaves behind its salt content.  This salt is added to the sea water that seeps into the crater from the porous rocks that form the sides of the crater, thus increasing the salinity.

Two to Travel at Darwin’s Lake.

We didn’t go much further than this overlook.  Yes, it was a short walk; perhaps a little too short.  But I’m still glad we chose this over the alternative of the ‘fitness walk’.  Those who took the longer walk later confirmed that they indeed made only a few stops.  I can speed-walk for exercise when I get home :-)

From the bottom of the steps looking towards the landing site.

The hours after our return to the Xpedition were not all that different from yesterday.  We cleaned up, downloaded pictures and videos, and joined our shipmates in the Discovery Lounge for the briefing on tomorrow’s activities.  Oh yeah; one difference — instead of piña colada, the featured cocktail was the blue-footed booby!

The blue-footed booby is made with Cana Manabita (Or rum), pineapple juice, Blue Curacao, & cream.

We joined the Passmans for dinner once again.  We’ve been struck by how much this family of four — mom, dad, and two adult kids — really enjoy each other’s company.  We also invited Scott and Cindy from Toronto, whose company we had enjoyed previously, to join our table.  The conversation was lively; always an indication of a good evening.

Our selections from the Day 3 Menu.

We wanted to round out the night with a bit more stargazing.  We even went up to deck 6 with our travel flashlight to make it easier to find our way to the bow.  Alas, the cloud cover got in the way.  Maybe tomorrow night.

The Xpedition will be rounding the tip of Isabela Island overnight, once again taking us briefly into the northern hemisphere before we head south of the Equator to our next island.  Let’s see, on this trip we’ve traveled between the hemispheres twice already; today will make it three times.  Or should I double that number, counting once each way for a total of six crossings :-)  Regardless, even though we elected not to attend tonight’s ‘crossing the line ceremony’ and pay our respects to King Neptune — not our cup of tea, I’m afraid — we definitely deserve the certificates that were sitting on the bed when we returned to the cabin.

It’s official!

P.S.  For those curious, there’s more about the crossing ceremony and its origins here.


  1. What a way to begin the adventure with 150 steep steps. But what a wonderful way to end it with a blue-footed booby! My kind of day.

  2. Great pictures of the lake! The graffiti certainly is a shame.

  3. Love those tuff cones. Can you imagine this very cool place as it SHOULD be? Covered with hundreds of tortoises instead of hundreds of foolish human markings?