Day eleven: Daphne and Pinzon, Galápagos

IMG_7640

  • Sickness tablets: check
  • Snorkel gear: check
  • Wet suits: check
  • More wrong guesses on which two of the children are twins: check

An early start today – we’re off on a boat trip to the islands of Pinzon and Daphne plus a small bay north on Santa Cruz. We drive up to Baltra Crossing (a small channel of water between the islands of Santa Cruz and Baltra) and are loaded onto the small taxi boat to take us to the main boat. Adults are given life jackets… none for the children… none of them match… and Andy’s doesn’t even do up. Alarm bells start ringing.

We meet two lovely women from Germany and are unexpectedly reunited with Yoran, the 71 year old fast walker from Sweden. We were all promised an English speaking guide and lifejackets (our ill-fitting ones were given back to the taxi boat).

We find out there are no life jackets and our guide (loosest sense of the word) only speaks Spanish. Between the five adults we gather enough words and our itinerary is confirmed. We’ll go snorkelling… we’ll go around an island… and we’ll get off at a beach… we’ll fish for our lunch.

A laminated card is held up to help identity the fish we’re likely to see. Penguins have gone from you will see… to… maybe/possibly. Saying all that, the boat is clean, the lunch smells lovely and in its heyday (c. 1976) the boat would have been quite a luxurious vessel. Of course, more importantly, the kids don’t see any of the negatives, we find three loosely fitting, knackered looking life jackets in the back of a cupboard and HEY! We’re on a boat! It’s sunny! And we’re fishing! All is well.

We catch a shark – by accident – but *we* catch a shark. As it was reeled in, we saw what it was, just as it bites through the line, eats the metal fish bait and swims away. Gone.

Fishing is over and the boat speeds up. I’m still not convinced by the life jackets, so I remind the kids to roll onto their backs if they fall in.

I notice that we’re heading in the wrong direction – it looks like we’re going back to the start. We learn that we’re heading back to the harbour to collect four more people, from the same place we left over an hour ago, who have just been booked on the same tour. Remember those alarm bells?

Finally we’re back on track. The snorkelling is great and the wetsuits work well. Today we all swim with sharks, turtles, manta-rays, more fish and sea lions (no penguins, of course). Some of the footage is included in this video.

IMG_7660In the end it turns out to be a great day, with just a small pinch of annoyance. We give feedback to the tour company and are reminded of the simple life lesson: You get what you pay for.

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