Feb 15, 2012
I got up really early on Wednesday morning (Feb 15) to head out to the tour I had booked the day before. Destination Floreana Island in search of penguins! Floreana is the shortest distance to travel to possibly see penguins. The other islands, Isabela, Santiago and Bartolome are all further either by land first and then boat, or just a longer boat ride. Being scared of getting sea sick, I decided to take the shortest route.
Just before 8am, I popped my gravol and put all kinds of positive thoughts through my head. Had a little chat with myself “You will not get sea sick. Think of other things. Concentrate on all the awesome adventures you’ve had. Think of your friends. Wonder what they are doing right now. Don’t get sea sick. Oh that was awful in St. Pierre when I was so horribly ill on the ferry. I don’t want that to happen again. Wait, supposed to be thinking positive here … Oh what a beautiful day!”
By 8:15 we were on the boat … crammed on the boat I might say. There were 16 of us on the tour, which was capacity for this boat, Mitzzy Juli. Our official guide that day was Marco. He spoke some English, but not a lot. Enough to get by but not really enough for me to understand all of the history that he was explaining.
As we headed out into the bay, one of the deck hands asked (and motioned) to see if I wanted to go somewhere. I thought that he was motioning to the small area inside, maybe because I had told Marco I was concerned about sea sickness. I said no because I’d much rather be in the fresh air than in an in-closed space. THEN as 2 or 3 other people headed to the edge of the boat and climbed up a ladder, I understood that he was asking if I wanted to go sit upstairs. Of course I wanted to sit upstairs! But, I had missed my chance. Upstairs was a small bench directly behind the captain of the boat, Raul. There was only room for 2-3 and now it was full. Boo me.
So, I sat and enjoyed the shade and fresh breeze from the water, not to mention the spectacular views as we bounced our way out to sea. The waters are warm and calm this time of year. Now, it is still open ocean, but overall, mostly a mildly rocky ride. Nothing like my horrendous experience on the ferry from St. Pierre & Miquelon!
The boat ride is about 1.5 hours. I couldn’t use my big camera on the boat as it makes me sea sick to look through it, so I took a few shots with my point and shoot.
After we got going, like a lot of people, I think the boat lulled me to sleep. It wasn’t a very good sleep as my head was bouncing around, but a little siesta none-the-less.
About 30 minutes from Floreana you could really begin to get a feel for the look and size of the island. It happens to also be the island that you see in the distance of this beautiful photo taken from Tortuga Bay.
Here it is closer up.
On arrival at Floreana our boat couldn’t go all the way in, so they tied it off to a floating thing a short distance from shore. The floating thing also had three sea lions (lobo marino) basking in the hot hot hot sun.
The Captain whistled loudly and a water taxi headed our way. This is standard in Galapagos. There are water taxis everywhere and you (or your captain) just whistle loudly to get their attention then they’ll come get you.
The water taxi pulled up along side our boat and we piled out single file. This is easy enough for me, but several passengers who were older or who had mobility issues had a really hard time transferring from one boat to the other. The waves would rock the boats … sometimes bringing them closer, sometimes separating them. No question it is dangerous, but I honestly doubt there are many accidents. The guides and deck hands are there to tell you when to step and hold your hand.
Once at the dock, we climbed off the water taxi on to a stair case having the same issues as before with the boat rocking to and from the dock. I’ve done this quite a few times and I feel that I’m pretty aware overall, so it didn’t bother me, but a few people were really scared.
We all got to land safely and headed out for our next little adventure … the highlands.