Galápagos – San Cristóbal

A bucket list destination for nature lovers and divers alike, the Galápagos Islands is my next stop. A wave of excitement as the reality sets in… I’m going to a place some people only dream of visiting. The plan is to try and sway a last minute bargain deal for a dive liveaboard. So far, I’ve managed to negotiate from $7k to $2500-3000 USD for a week trip. Not financially viable. The next option presented to me, is a 15 day ocean clean up volunteer liveaboard in mid September, heading to Wolf and Darwin island. I’d love to take advantage of this opportunity, but I haven’t the time to spare.

Next to no wifi, living off of huevos, bananas and manzanas (apples) to try and ease the financial blow that comes with last a last minute trip to the Galapagos. My hostel on San Cristóbal is a 30-40 minute walk from town…

The weather; raining and overcast. Above water, it’s a far cry from the postcard version I was pitched (purely due to weather and the fact I’m backpacking and not on a honeymoon or doing a luxury cruise). Walking by the marina, sea lions lazing on the beaches and park benches (similar to drunken homeless people in parks at home) and bright red crabs scuttle over the black volcanic rocks.

For a day’s diving, it’s $160 USD ($150 if you can barter or bat your lashes). Water taxi’s travel between the islands for $20-30 USD. In total, I did 3 days diving… my bank account said no after 1 day but my desire to dive with hammer head sharks said, “keep diving til hammer time” (for the short couple of years since beginning diving, the places I’ve travelled to dive, you’d think I would’ve seen one already!).

The first activity is a night snorkel. On the way to the beach, Wilt, my dive guide, cracks open a bottle of white rum. I draw the line at a few large shots (even though he keeps filling my cup). We sit at the Mirador, watching the stars. It’s a nice view but I’m the only one snorkelling and I’m here to get in the water, not stargaze with a stranger.

In the water, every move is illuminated by the thousands of plankton; creating a sea of stars, fairy dust and fireflies under the surface. The most magical underwater experience. Dreams are made of this. Here I was thinking I was Peter Pan all these years and I’ve turned into Tinkerbell. At the end of the snorkel, a baby sea lion on the rocks gets curiously close. It’s such a precious little pup, with giant eyes… you just want to cuddle it! Now to rest and get ready for my first Galapagos dive.

On the island of San Cristóbal, Kicker Rock aka Leon Dormindo is the top dive spot. The divemaster showed me a video taken the day before at Kicker Rock… Killer whales eating a hammer head. Unfortunately, my dive at Kicker had no hammerheads or whales… it did have large Galapagos sharks, turtles, sea lions and a lot of fish. I show the video to Tom, a young Isreali guy who is also backpacking and diving with the group. He insists I send it to him. Tom is planning to head North to Colombia too. No doubt, I will see him again on the Ecuador loop.

Visibility wasn’t great at Kicker Rock but god it was good to be back under water and drown out the surface noise.

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