Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Kicker Rock Tour and More!

Of course, here in the Galapagos, snorkeling with the sea life is the biggest attraction. The World Cruising Club arranged for a full day tour of several key places on the island of San Cristobal. First we went to a beach known as a sea lion sanctuary and breeding ground. There were a number of baby sea lions on the beach while the mommies were hunting for food. The Alpha male sea lion made his presence know with his loud calls. We were warned not to come between mother and child and not to swim on the side of the bay were the Alpha male had taken his position. The rule here is not to get any closer to the wild life than 3 meters. Of course, there are some who ignore the rules and irritate the animals.
We had an hour of snorkeling with the sea turtles, sea lions, rays and various species of fish. We literally had to swim through schools of fish, that took no notice of us. It was like crossing the street in a busy city: you just made your move and tried not to bump into anything. I am getting much braver about swimming with the underwater creatures. Dennis bought me a snorkeling vest that helps my confidence level and I don’t get as tired. I had been wearing my water aerobics swim belt, but that does not allow me to adjust the buoyancy. As of yet, we have not done any scuba diving.

We next boarded a power boat that took us to Kicker Rock to snorkel with the deep water fish and sharks. I have to admit that I was a little concerned about the word “shark” and not real excited about jumping into the deep water. We circled the rock formation on the boat while the naturalist explained things and pointed out the different species of birds living there and who preys on whom. Then the tour boat drops you off on the east side of Kicker Rock and the current carries you through the passage between the two rocks. The boat is on the other side to pick you up when you are finished.

It was more difficult to see the fish and sharks near the bottom of the area, and my camera had fogged up from the temperature changes from the cold water, to the hot sun and back to cold water so I didn’t get any good shots here. We saw beautiful schools of fish of many types and colors. And we saw hammerhead sharks. The visibility was a little cloudy so I had trouble spotting the sharks at first. Then just as I was about to finish my swim, three huge (5’ long) hammerheads swam about three feet under me. I thought I was going to panic, but I manage to stay quiet and breathe!

What is this?
Following the Kicker Rock swim, we boarded the boat and headed to a beach. Since we are not allowed to take food on shore, we lunched on the boat before jumping in to swim ashore. Here we saw the marine iguanas up close and saw their interesting tracks in the sand. We saw several small puffer fish riding the waves in and out right at the shore line and a hermit crab. Back at Kicker Rock we had seen the little black crabs that grow up into the big red crabs. Not as big as the Alaskan King Crab, though.

It was a long, but fun day in the sun and water so everyone was tired by the time we got back to the boat. Dennis and I were going to have a dinner alone on shore after doing some work on the internet (which was not working). Jack stayed on the boat. Larry went off on his own. Nick and Daphne went off on their own. And we all ended up at the same restaurant! In the end, Nick and Daphne joined us for dinner. So much for date night! I guess it is “married with children.”
Next we will be sailing over to the island of Isabella and then onto Santa Cruz where Jack, Nick and Daphne will head home. Tom and Tony will be joining us for the longest leg of the whole rally.

Due to Internet challenges, this blog will be continued! See a few more photos below.


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