Today was spent on a boat trip to Kicker Rock, where there was supposed to be some excellent marine life, and then on to a beach. The rock itself is formed from volcanic ash. The young Germans and I had to join another group for the trip and these turned out to be predominantly young Americans, who had been travelling together for the last 2 months.
It was a beautiful day and the journey out to the rock took about an hour. There was the prospect of snorkelling with hammerhead sharks, about which I was a little apprehensive. However, the guides tried to assure me it was perfectly safe as there was enough of a food supply in the Galapagos for them, so they weren’t interested in eating humans!
As it transpired, it wasn’t the sharks I should have worried about but the swell and the currents. The group, once in the water, was instructed to follow the guide, Jorge, over to the rock wall. However, I got into difficulties fairly quickly, as water kept going down my snorkel in the swell and my mask also leaked water. In true fashion, I panicked. Luckily the guide that had been left on the boat heard me calling and came to my rescue, unlike my last panic when the boatman was totally disinterested and I had to rely on Thomas calling instructions from the boat. It was quite a frightening experience and left me a little shaken.
The group proceeded through a channel and once they were on the other side and in calmer waters, I was encouraged to jump in again. This time, I held on to a life ring, which, Christian, my rescuer, was pulling, so it was much easier. There were quite a number of fish and I also saw a couple of turtles, the rest of the group having seen many of the latter in the channel. After returning to the boat and circling Kicker Rock, they all jumped in again into some very rough looking water but, not surprisingly, I decided to stay on the boat.
Afterwards, we headed to a magnificent beach where we had lunch on the boat and then had some free time to walk, swim or relax. I walked for a while and then had a swim, after which all I really just wanted to do was lie in the hot sun. However, the wind was blowing the sand and there were some very vicious horse flies inhabiting the beach, so it was by no means relaxing.
Once back in town, I went for a last wander around to watch the people and the sea lions, who have the run of the waterfront. They are quite entertaining and make the most extraordinary barking noises, which can sound very agressive.
Four more people joined our group this evening and we had an excellent fish meal at one of the local restaurants. I am now sharing my room with Laura, from Watford, and the other three are a German couple and their 18 year old daughter, who is doing a volunteer programme for a year in Ibarra, northern Ecuador.