May 12, 2009
We hired the taxi driver/guide recommended by the check-in agent we used to go sightseeing on San Cristobal Island. There are only roads in the southern portion of the island, but they do go up to almost the highest elevation. The highlights were:
Seeing the marine iguanas on a rocky beach. They almost blend in with the black lava rocks they perch on. They let you get quite close & look very much like mini-dinosaurs. *SEE PHOTO GALLERY*
We drove by a hilltop with wind-powered generators, like they have on the way to Palm Springs. This provides 50% of the islands power needs. The other 50% is by traditional diesel generators.
We drove through a few different climate zones. High up at a volcano called El Junco it was very foggy & at first we saw nothing but the mist. Then we waited & could get a glimpse of a lake in the center of the extinct volcano, formed from rainfall. It was cold felt like we were in San Francisco, whereas down by the coast it feels warm & tropical.
We went to a preserve where they are assisting the survival of the giant tortoises. These enormous \”E.T. faced\” creatures do not begin to reproduce until 25 years old and can live to well over 100 years old. The female lays only 8-10 eggs a year, and in the wild only 1 will survive. With the assistance of incubators & semi-captivity they have increased the survival rate to 5 or 6. The little ones are so cute. But the big ones are awesome. Unfortunately it was not feeding day. They only feed them 3x/week. We did see 1 near the entry that seemed more free-ranging, chomping on a leaf. It is a very large site so they have plenty of habitat to roam. But they seem content just slowly walking into their little water pond or out of it. Mostly they just sitting there, patiently letting we tourists take a thousand photos. *SEE PHOTO GALLERY*
We stopped for lunch at a restaurant with lovely grounds. Many beautiful native trees & plants. We enjoyed sitting outside. The appetizer of half a pomelo (similar to grapefruit) was the highlight. The meal itself was nothing special – a chicken leg, rice & a couple token vegetables. Dessert was half of a canned peach. The main benefit of this stop to us was speaking to a large bus load of American tourists. They are touring the many islands aboard a large power catamaran. We asked questions about their impressions of Santa Cruz Island which we had considered taking the \”ferry\” to visit. We will have an opportunity to see the Charles Darwin Center there when we are with the dive boat, so we will probably not go on our own. The other island of interest is Isabella, but it is a 30 minute airplane ride. We will inquire about the cost & consider a day trip there.
Otherwise, we are getting ready to join \”Sky Dancer\” for a week of diving in 5 days.
Scott & Cindy