The Island Hopping Chronicles Part II: Isabella, Queen of the GalapagosGalapagos Islands, Spring 2012

After spending two and half days on the island with the highest population, I arrived Monday on Isabella, the island with the largest land mass and only 500 hundred people to populate the vast space. Isabella has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful islands of the Galapagos. Although there are tourists, Isabella remains for the most part pristine. The two hour boat ride between the two islands taught me a valuable lesson in sea travel. Be careful when taking seasickness medication. I’m not prone to seasickness but took the medication as a precautionary anyway. Soon I discovered the pill makes me both drowsy and intolerably grouchy. Once landed on the Island I took a nap and missed the snorkel trip where all my classmates saw penguins. Galapagos penguins are not only the only penguin to live north of the equator; they were also the animal I was looking forward to seeing the most on Isabella. Although bummed out I convinced myself there would be plenty of other amazing animals and sights during my visit. Well, unsurprisingly, I was right. During our first full day we hiked up Volcan Chico, a still sometimes active volcano. Once at the top we continued our walk over the volcano to Sierra Negra, an eerie but beautiful landscape composed entirely of lava rocks. As soon as we turned around the sky decided it would be a good time to vomit water on us for the entire two hour walk back turning the paths into small rivers. However the view was completely worth the soaking wet walk. Our second day we were spilt into different boats for a several stop trip. On our way out to the lava tunnel beach, my group saw fins cutting the water. My mind automatically jumped to sharks. They weren’t sharks though; the fins belonged to something even better, manta rays. The boat captain stopped the boat and without a moment’s hesitation the most prepared people on my boat jumped into the terrifyingly deep water with the manta ray. They were the lucky ones who actually swam with the giant sea creature. For people unfamiliar with manta rays, they are about 10 to 15 feet wide. They move incredibly fast with little effort. Not being the strongest swimmer, I wasn’t able to catch up with manta ray. I did get to see its wing tips curl out of the water in front of me, which was incredible as well. More to be Posted soon…
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