Galapagos – the end is near (too near)

So my final week of lessons arrived and I broke up the week with a dive on Tuesday.  Another amazing dive at Gordon Rocks where our safety stop was surrounded by 15 reef sharks!  Some got a little too close for comfort but they are perfectly safe!  At one point a sea lion started annoying them but they basically just ignored it and got on with their slow circling in the current.

 

We saw  a very large sting ray resting on the bottom, so well disguised that a turtle almost sat on it, as well as an amazing school of yellow fish, more barracuda to swim through, school of tuna … and of course hammerheads ❤️🦈

How am I going to go back to normal life when this has been my life for a month 😔

As always I was in awe of the amazing array fish, sharks, turtles (so many turtles) sea lions etc. etc.

I also managed to catch up with the guide from last years cruise. 👍🏻  It was lovely to see him again if only for a couple of hours as he is in town with another tour group.

I watched the football world cup semi final between England and Croatia and you can not help but love the  South American (or maybe they are Spanish) commentators.  It doesn’t matter who scores, the announcement is “gggggggggoooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllll” … I am not really sure if that is long enough 😂

My 4 weeks of Spanish lessons have come to an end and I can safely that say I am closer to speaking a second language than I ever have been before …. but I guess that is compared to nothing 😂 so is not really saying much! Still I definitely feel like I have increased my knowledge and vocabulary but I am still not confident to speak much.

Have been helping the dive guides with English and it is surprising how many Spanish words I know when they can not come up with the English word 👍🏻

For my last Friday night in Puerto Ayora, I went out with Patricia my host, and a couple of others.  We had a great night of dancing which ended with me  bumping in to a couple of the teachers (not my teacher) from my language school so it was nice to get to know them a little outside the school.

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Recovery day Saturday and I took a short boat trip across the harbour and then walked to along the volcanic rock path and through scrubby bushes to Las Grietas – a stretch of inland crystal clear emerald green water at the bottom of an earth fracture!  It’s over 10 meters deep, 7 meters wide and 100 meters long and apparently is fed underground by a river from one end and ocean water from the other so the water is cool and brackish. There are cliffs of dark volcanic rock rising up on each side which make a dramatic contrast against the emerald green water.

There were so many people there, I decided not to swim, but walked back a short distance to a small beach where I sat and watched the marine iguanas coming and going in to the sea.

Sunday was family day and I took my host family on a discovery dive as I though it would be great the diving experience with them as I was doing it so often. They were all very nervous and in the end only 2 made it under the water! I spent 30 minutes on the bottom at around 3m holding hands with Maria Gracia – the youngest (11) but certainly the bravest of them all!

After the discovery dive, they went snorkelling and I went on a proper dive.  Highlights being so many turtles, one came so close it was almost impossible not to touch it and a sea lion who followed us around for most of the dive (I am pretty certain it was the same one the whole time). You could also tell when it was going I appear as the fish scattered as it shot through the water!!

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My last dive was back at Gordon Rocks – if you haven’t noticed I have LOVED the diving.  I got the grand send off from a large group of Hammerhead sharks, 15-20 golden rays, turtles, sooooo many fish of all sizes as well as a big group of large jack fish.

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The current was pretty strong but I know have so much more confidence than when I started – I just hope that it sticks around until I can get back in the water.

I had a bittersweet last dinner with my family, it is sad saying goodbye but I know I will be back in the not too distant future so that helps soften the blow a little.

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I am writing this as I sit in the airport in Quito, waiting for my second delayed flight of the day and really am pretty sad about leaving the islands.  I guess the longer you stay somewhere the harder it is to leave so maybe it is best that the rest of my trip will be made up of much more travelling!

The Galapagos Islands are truly a special place – as I think I commented in an earlier blog post, just when you think you have seen the best the islands have to offer, they surprise you with something even more amazing!

What won’t I miss about the Galapagos islands?  Appalling slow wifi and washing my hair in the dark in cold water!

What will I miss? Everything else 😢 oh who am I kidding – it’s this 😭

 

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