Home Up


In order to travel to more than one island we had to buy a permit which cost $US200 and then the National Park fee for another $US200 and then we were still only allowed to anchor in the ports of the 5 inhabited islands. To get to see anything you are supposed to hire one of the guides who are required to be able to speak English and be knowledgeable about the islands. So far our 'tours' have just been with Spanish speaking taxi drivers who may or may not have interesting things to impart but our Spanish isn't up to the task of finding out. This is a bit rough as we are not allowed to go anywhere on our own. It seems as if the locals, under the guise of protecting the park, have organised themselves a gold mine.

junk mail.jpg (115756 bytes)

post office bay.jpg (55584 bytes)

One of the things we wanted to see was Post office bay where, in 1793 a barrel was placed so that passing ships could leave and collect mail.  Unfortunately it is now just a bit of tourist nonsense with a particularly appropriate sticker on the barrel from the London borough of Richmond!

Post Office bay was where the whalers and any other ships put in for water. It is a bit ironic that, of the inhabited islands, this one has the least reliable water source now.

water supply.jpg (129657 bytes)

tuf formations.jpg (98605 bytes)

This is the main water supply high up on the island

Up here, near the water source, was where a German family called Wittmer came to live in the 1930s. They hollowed out the fairly soft rock extending existing caves and made a complete house with sleeping platforms, kitchen etc. Their descendants own the only hotel on the island.

Not Easter Island.jpg (138805 bytes)

Erik and baby tortoises.jpg (123880 bytes)

No, we didn't suddenly divert to Easter island. This was the Wittmer dog's kennel which they carved in a quiet hour or so.

Yet another tortoise sanctuary. Each Island has a differently evolved version of most things.

the point.jpg (80097 bytes)

iguanna on rock.jpg (128739 bytes)

Down on the coast again we went for a walk and a snorkel. One of the startling things about this place is the quantity of wildlife and the fact that it is more interested in us than afraid of us. A green turtle came swimming up to investigate us!

Yet more iguanas. Not quite so many as on San Cristobal but more colourful.

crab.jpg (124847 bytes)

grasshoppers.jpg (126267 bytes)

Talking about colourful!

These as well who were a bit too pre-occupied to mind the photography

lizard.jpg (119705 bytes)

cactus and volcano.jpg (85715 bytes)

Of course some people go for the camouflage option

Everything is green at the moment as this is the rainy season but even so, the vegetation is spiny shrubs and cacti

heron.jpg (78998 bytes)

booby.jpg (92243 bytes)

It is a bit hard to get good pictures of birds however as they don't tend to let you get very close This is a great blue heron.

This is not the recommended way to get bird pictures. This poor Nazca booby dived for the fishing lure that we were trailing behind the boat, got hooked and drowned before we could rescue it.

Apart from this unfortunate catch we aren't having a great deal of luck with our fishing. Several times when we hauled in the line we found missing hooks and uncomfortably large teeth marks in the lures. We also caught a nice tuna head the other day when we were too slow hauling in and a predator made off with the body.

flat turtle.jpg (53584 bytes)

turn turtle.jpg (55877 bytes)

The seas around here were like turtle soup there were so many

but of course it is hard to get decent photos of diving turtles

relaxed sea lion.jpg (110662 bytes)

black and white.jpg (85610 bytes)

A really relaxed sea lion

The black volcanic sand mixing with the white shell sand make these beautiful ripple effects