Posts Tagged ‘opuntia’

A kayak outing in Galapagos (part one)

November 19, 2009 1 comment

Light shines intensely this brilliant morning in Galapagos.  Metropolitan Touring’s charming and several times awarded Finch Bay Eco Hotel glitters under the bright sunshine.  The blue sky and turquoise sea, the sparkling white sand of the beach and the greenery of the mangroves create a bright mosaic of colors, while a great blue heron explores the swimming pool’s edge.  Inside the pool, instead of tourists, two Galapagos pin-tailed ducks float idly… And, on the grayish lava rocks, some black marine iguanas bask on the sun, drying their reptilian skins, freshly emerged from their morning breakfast outing. 

We have just had one more delicious breakfast at the Hotel and, while Monica and Jinson help us pulling the ocean kayaks towards the beach, me and Julio smear our bodies with lots of sun block; fit in our caps and secure with waterproof plastic covers our small day packs with cameras, binoculars and more sun screen.  Monica takes some funny pictures of us, clumsily wading our way into the cove and trying to organize ourselves and the equipment inside the long and narrow, orange colored, two-seater ocean kayak.  We finally settle down and start practicing in order to synchronize the movement of both paddles.  By then, the kayak is fully afloat and slowly leaving the beach…  Now our arms, muscles and hands are moving strong and quickly, as we are headed east, directly towards a breaker, high enough to turn our kayak over…  We have been provided with a paper map showing us the correct route…  so we must promptly turn, as we certainly do, to the south and then negotiate our way through a narrow canal surrounded by mangroves and small lava islets. 

By now we have picked up an appropriate speed (not too fast, not too slow) and our paddles are well coordinated… up…left….down…right… While our concentration is centered on paddling and moving the kayak in the right way and direction, our eyes cannot escape from admiring the awesome views around us….  As we leave the mangrove canal, a large and deep bay opens to our left (the west). It is Devine’s Bay, with its black lava cliffs, blue and turquoise waters, hidden channels, and, above the cliffs, a mysterious looking forest of “palo santo” trees and “opuntia” cacti, the sun projecting psychedelic spirals of golden rays around their branches….

Time for a break…  we have done an hour’s steady paddling and we smoothly move the kayak to a calm cove…. Julio reaches for our bottles of water and we drink and pour some of the liquid onto ourselves… Along the layered blocks of basaltic lava, some blue footed boobies rest, just waiting for a new air strike over the bay, ready to capture their mid-morning brunch: a school of wrasses cruising by…..  We pull the cameras out and start a rewarding photo session: the picturesque scenery, the boobies, some juvenile pelicans, a floating sea turtle, a lava heron quietly stalking over a group of “sally-light foot” crabs….  For a minute my mind tells me, no wonder why the Galapagos are called

“unique”, “magic”, “enchanted”….  Those words seem to have been created especially to describe these islands…. And we just enjoy those magic moments….

On the next chapter I will tell you about the return path…