It was Christmas Day and I was in the Galapagos!
I woke up super excited and grabbed a borrowed Santa hat (thanks to the Mother’s Club at my school). The day didn’t start out very nice since it was very cloudy and it looked like it would rain, but I had high hopes for it. I was excited at the prospect of seeing flamingos and sea turtles though so my spirits were still high. Also, Post Office Bay had me thoroughly intrigued before I even left Venezuela!
I was less excited when it started raining just as we got into the dingy. Even less so once it started picking up speed once we arrived at Floreana. It turns out that the flamingos were quite far out in the lagoon so I was really hoping the sea turtles made an appearance.
There were two sea turtles on the beach! My guide said that usually we should only ever see female sea turtles on the beach because they are trying to escape from horny male turtles and need a rest. One turtle went pretty far from the water and definitely looked tired so I believe him.
I took my Christmas photos to send to my family.
As we were about to leave we saw Portuguese Man o War all over the beach! I was so thankful that I had rented a full body wetsuit for the week! The body of one of these things is so small and the tentacles so thin that they are said to just catch you completely off guard and you get stung. Yikes!
After quickly changing into our snorkeling gear we went out to Devil’s Crown and hopped out of the dingy into some deep water. Devil’s Crown looks like the tips of a circular craggy crown because it is the rim of a volcanic crater. By this point, I was a pro at grabbing a life jacket that had loops to go around my legs, holding onto the life jacket as I slipped into the water, and then peacefully exploring around the rocks. Our guide told us that the marine life in the center of the crater was just some boring fish, so we floated around the perimeter of the outside of the crater. We saw more white tipped sharks, fish, blue starfish, some giant lobsters, and a spotted eagle ray. Our guide gave me some pics and thankfully he had snapped one of the cool spotted ray!
After lunch and a lovely siesta on the boat we went to Post Office Bay. Thankfully, the clouds had cleared up by this point, because I would hate to ruin someone’s post card in the rain. Basically, Post Office Bay is said to have South America’s oldest post office. People say that Post Office Bay was originally created by whalers who wanted to get mail from home, now it is used mostly by tourists who write a postcard and leave it in the barrel for others to find. The deal is that if you take a post card you are responsible for mailing it or hand delivering it to the address listed. I found a couple from Oregon and one from Caracas!
Despite the grey start to the day, the skies cleared up for another gorgeous sunset.
After our lobster dinner (bought the day before at Puerto Ayora fish market) and wine shared between all of us, we settled down on deck chatting the evening away. Just as I was about to turn in because the rocking of the boat had started up something fierce, someone pointed out that there was a full moon.
Full moon+ Christmas+ Galapagos= one of the most magical moments of my life!