As always, these days start early. We were dropped off on Santa Cruz at about 08:30, where we hopped in a bus for a drive into the highlands. There, we would have a chance to see giant tortoises in the wild.
Giant tortoises look, if they’re not moving, a lot like boulders. We almost ran right into this lady while she was snacking. It’s hard for me to tell the difference between the males and females. Males are larger and have concave lower shelves, for mating with the females.
After seeing some tortoises, we took a very short walk into a lava tube. Lava tubes are pretty similar everywhere, and we’ve been in lava tubes near Mt. St. Helen and on Iceland. We were only able to walk about 100-200 meters into this one due to a pond. It was much taller than other tubes I’ve been in.
It was a lovely beach, and nice cooling off in the water. We swam and kayaked. Matt and I were almost the last people back from kayaking, except for Wayne and the Peruvian guy, who had been chasing sharks in solo kayaks out towards open water last we’d seen them.
Wayne joined us just in time for the bus back to the panga back to the boat. I had a good look at the pier there, at Puerta Ayora, since that’s where we’ll be for the 2 days after our cruise finishes.
Before dinner we had a next-day briefing with our guides. At dinner, our dining companions from the Frigates group (we are Boobies) told us that they’d heard that we could extend our cruise 4 more days. The extension would take us to the northern islands and therefore we’d see penguins! Because they are trying to fill their occupancy, it would only cost $600 more (which is very much worth it). Very tempting! However, if we did that, we wouldn’t be able to see the market in Otavalo, which was where we were hoping to pick up any souvenirs. Still, it’s just a market. We’re going to have some serious thinking about it overnight.
Dinner was followed by a band playing Ecuadorian music for us to dance to, but a group of us went up top to star-gaze and chat.
Matt hadn’t joined, so after a while I went looking for him. He was helping Roger, a very interesting older guy from Colorado, pick out his next tablet. Roger bought me a glass of wine, but I pooped out without finishing it, and went to bed.
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