Sierra Negra

Sealion pups playing on the benches at Puerto Villamil – they were shooed off by the street cleaners

Sunny at our mooring in the bay at Puerto Villamil. A bit of a shock to see lights. The Sierra Negra volcano was covered in cloud.

A panga to the port. Sealion pups were playing on the path and learning how to lie on the benches. Open truck ride to the tortoise centre; rather better than the one in Puerto Ayora. Tortoises from different islands and at different stages. The smaller ones were more visible ; they brought out some embryo specimens and a small 4 month old tortoise. There were also some 4-day old ones in a simulated nest.

The keeper brought out a 4 month old giant tortoise

The truck then took us to an old quarry, now populated with some flamingos. Then, past lava flows that stand 2-3 metres proud of the rest of the landscape, slowly up the volcano. Mist and drizzle as we begin a 2 hour walk to the caldera rim.

They claim it’s the 2nd biggest caldera in the world, but that’s a bit of a fib. But at 10km by 9km it is truly massive. Or it would be if you could see it. Initially there was a faint view of the opposite rim, a sketchy sighting of the floor and a rainbow around our shadows inside the caldera.

Mist covered most of the caldera

The caldera rim at Sierra Negra

But it cleared more later and you could see the rugged lava floor, the steep green sides below the rim and the black lava flows on the other side where the caldera overflowed in the last eruption, 12 years ago.

In the afternoon we had a 7 hour journey back to Santa Cruz. It started bright but the sea got increasingly rough, so we fled to the cabin.

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