We had such a great time on our twilight water taxi ride—in which we saw boobies galore—that we asked our driver to return at 6am so we could go out one more time before making the trek back to Manta later that morning. This meant a 5am wake-up time, and have I mentioned how not a morning person I am? But when else are you going to have the chance to see unique Galapagos wildlife in their sleeping state? Maybe never. And so I decided to take a rain check on my sleep—at the rate I’m going, likely for when I’m dead—bit the bullet and got up inhumanly early for the ride.
We picked up a few more of our fellow Enrichment Voyagers—Andrew, Barbara and Michael—along the way and first had to get past the security guards before we could board our ride, which was fine as our driver operated on “island time” (i.e. showed up 20 minutes late). So we decided to make the most of our downtime and make friends—or at least make it appear in our photo as if we had.
Andrew and I tried to sneak up on our sleepy victim, who we thought to be passed out from a crazy night burning the midnight oil in “downtown” Puerto Ayora, but we got five feet from him, and he snapped to attention and began barking aggressively at us. Don’t let the cute face fool you…I’m sure the bite is even worse than the bark. We learned our lesson: From now on, keep a pole’s length from the locals, all of them.
Our driver arrived, we all climbed into the tight speedboat and were on our way. As we pulled out of the harbor, we saw more boobies and a pelican or two. One thing the Galapagos Islands is not lacking in is bird life.
We even spotted the red-breasted Great Frigate, a native to the islands and a harder bird to find on Santa Cruz Island.
Our driver took us straight back to the dock where we had disembarked the previous night and wandered aimlessly beneath the gloaming. Again, there were a pair of bouncers watching guard over the area; enter at your own risk, they silently warned. We clapped loudly to scare them off, they rolled their eyes in our direction, sighed audibly and dove into the sea below.
The 10 of us walked the rickety dock and followed the same path we’d taken back out to the west side of Tortuga Bay the night before. We were expecting to find it utterly deserted, which at first it appeared to be, save a few creepy crabs scattering across the terrain as we invaded their turf.
Like the tortoise, the iguana was completely comical in its prehistoric facade. It looks like something you might see if rocketing up into space with Richard Branson, but not something on planet Earth.
We stuck around for a solid hour capturing every last iguana on the rocks, as they blinked stupidly in response, before we got worried our driver might leave us behind (and he was tapping his foot impatiently when we arrived back). So we snapped a few quick final pictures—our last remaining memories of our all-too-short time in the Galapagos Islands—as we sped away into the sunrise, our minds overwhelmed by all they’d experienced and our heart full with fondness for the amazing creatures we’d “met.”