Tuesday, 10 July (Part II)
After returning from our zodiac ride in Elizabeth Bay (post here), we had free time aboard the ship while the second group went out for their ride. We took advantage of this time to relax on deck 6 and keep an eye out for whales and dolphins. No luck with any sightings.
Once the second group returned to the ship shortly before noon, the Xpedition weighed anchor and started the short transit north to the site of our afternoon activities — Caleta Tagus (Tagus Cove) — via the Bolivar Channel between Isabela and Fernandina islands.
The arrow points to the site of our two afternoon activities.
[map courtesy of the GalapagosIslands.com website]
The transit took about 2 hours, which gave us time to have lunch on deck 5 (carried from the Italian buffet featured in the Darwin Restaurant). The BBC film, Galápagos (Part II), was being screened in the Discovery Lounge after lunch. Having watched the entire series shortly before we left on our trip, we skipped the documentary and relaxed on deck 6 instead — reading (me) and napping (Mui).
At our Caleta Tagus anchorage, the zodiacs are readied for the first afternoon activity.
At 3:00p, Mui joined the rest of the snorkelers for the deepwater experience. Different from the off-beach snorkels, this one left directly from the ship and participants had to get in/out of the water from the panga via a ladder.
For this snorkeling experience, those participating gear up on deck 3 aft before …
… they take off to the snorkeling site by zodiac.
This activity was billed as suitable for advanced snorkelers. What that really meant was that those participating needed to be comfortable in depths where there was no possibility of standing to rest. (Mui didn’t use one, but snorkeling vests were available.)
Mui said the currents were stronger, so you had to be more careful about being washed up against the rocky shoreline. Also, because the water was open to the sea, visibility wasn’t very good, either. The murkiness could have been due to plankton and other microscopic life in the water. After all, there is a reason why this area is popular with dolphins and whales.
That description of the deepwater experience is all well and good, but that wasn’t the first thing out of his mouth when he returned to the ship. When I asked him how it was, “Coooooldddd,” was his response. And yes, he stretched out the word :-) Regardless, he had a big grin on his face, so I know he enjoyed himself.
Here’s a bit from Mui’s snorkeling experience; you can see how much stronger the
currents were from the movement of the camera, especially when he was
swimming with the Galápagos green turtles.
So what did I do while Mui was off snorkeling? I wandered around the ship, taking photos of the graffiti on the cliffs. Historically, Caleta Tagus was an anchorage spot for pirates, whalers, and wayfarers who carved the names of their ships on the rocks. The oldest of these apparently date back to 1836 and 1846. The practice is now prohibited, of course; but I did see some that were dated as late as 2007.
Can you see the graffiti on the cliffs? Look at the striated rocks? Still not seeing them ...
… how about now?
Labeling the graffiti as historic still doesn’t make it right (IMHO).
The graffiti documented, I took advantage of one of the umbrella-shaded tables at the Beagle Grill to enjoy a cold beverage and some reading time until the snorkel pangas started to trickle back to the ship.
Mui’s smiling; must’ve been a good snorkel!
Time to get ready for the next activity of the afternoon!