February 2010 - Page 2

We decided to dig the bikes out. It was much easier to get them to shore in the water taxi then in our dingy -- a nice change. Good thing the taxi driver had a fine sense of humour as we hauled four bikes, snorkelling gear, the bike carrier and three bags of garbage into his taxi, along with sv Tumshi and their two bikes. We biked to La Loberia. We walked over the lava rocks and saw lots of lava lizards running around and marine iguanas sunning themselves. They are completely camouflaged and we nearly stepped on one. We then went snorkelling and saw 6-7 turtles and tons of fish that we haven’t seen before. Large school of fish float right beneath you. My favourite was of course the turtles and these small fish with bright blue eyes and brilliant yellow lips. It is different than in the Caribbean or San Blas. These fish and animals don’t move or dart out of the way when you come by, so one is able to observe them at close range. It is remarkable.

Okay, so the sea lions are very cute when you first get acquainted but they are becoming tiresome. Every night they spent hours trying to board our boat while we try to scare them off. When we wake they always manage to somehow get into the cockpit. Then we have to clean the mud, fishy smell and small black hairs that are all over the place.

We have been dealing with Manolo from Sharksky. He has been letting us leave our bikes at his shop. This is permitting us to go biking everyday. Today, he got a driver for us, we put all our bikes and the carrier in the back of the truck and drove to the other side of the island in the highlands to the tortoise conservation centre then on to El Junco Lagoon where there is a volcano crater rim hike. We then biked back to town, which was for the most part all down hill. It was so fun, the road is not busy, and it is paved. That is my kind of biking.

We took a hike to Frigatebird Hill by the Interpretation Centre. Frankly, there were way more Frigate Birds at the colony in Barbuda but nonetheless it was a wonderful hike. However, it is not rustic, all the trails either have a wooden walkway built up or in they are in the process of a wooden walkway being built. I guess that in a way it is good so people stay on the trail and in one spot. There are so many tourists here. The park is supposedly monitoring the amount of tourists but it seems overrun to me.

We signed up for a snorkelling trip with Sharksky. They picked us up on our boat at 9:00 a.m. and we took the speedboat to Isla Lobos for snorkelling. Saw an octopus, a stingray, baby sea lions, and colourful school of fish. Supposedly, the mama sea lions leave their babies here while they go out to find fish for them. They call it the sea lion kindergarten. The coral seemed washed out though. We then moved to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock) to snorkel with hammerheads and Galapagos sharks but because the water was so murky from the north swell we could not see far enough down. The guide dived down deep and saw some and took a picture for us. We were disappointed that we didn't see them with our own eyes. I’m still very proud of myself as I have been paranoid of sharks since my parents took me to see Jaws when I was eight years old! There were some nervous Aussie guys as well! After Kicker Rock, we went to Playa Grande beach for lunch. The kids played "Piggie in the Middle" in the water with the other people on the boat, university students and young adults from around the globe volunteering in the Galapagos to help get rid of invasive species, mostly mora's (blackberry bushes).