Northern Isabela

Finally a quiet and stable night, moored somewhere off the northern coast of Isabella. The boat motored in the morning to Punta Vicente Roca, next to the Equador volcano; one that had half collapsed, perhaps a thousand years ago, causing a tsunami.

We anchored in a bay surrounded by high cliffs. No beach, no landing. Instead a spectacular snorkel – one of the best ever! Colder water and a little rough but clear. Turtles appeared before we got in and more and more swam into the bay as we went. At one point I counted 14 turtles in my field of view, pausing at a cleaning station. They were generally calm despite the close distances.

A small white tipped reef shark swam next to me and then headed straight for me, and had to swim just under me as it was pursued by the Go-Pro crowd. Kim grabbed me. I’ve never been that close to a shark.

There was a sealion and I spotted a penguin swimming nearby. A cormorant dived a couple of metres from me and grabbed  small red fish which jumped in and out of its reach. As it dived down a stream of bubbles traced its course; just like the wildlife films. There were masses of fish of all sizes and more turtles. We got out as we reached the corner with its colder water and swifter current.

Leaving Punta Vincente Roca and the half-collapsed Ecuador volcano

We boat sailed south to Tagus Cove and the weather brightened. This was a historic anchorage used by pirates and early visitors. The sides of the bay are covered with graffiti from navel cadets and there are some older carvings at the landing point. One dates to 1836, a year after Darwin’s visit.

Graffiti at Tagus Cove

We walked past a raised salt lake (no-one’s quite sure how this works) and up to a dramatic viewpoint overlooking the dark lavafields of the Ecuador, Darwin and Wolf volcanoes.

The saline lake

Later a snorkel in the bay; spotting rays, many green sea urchins a penguin on shore and 5 swimming nearby.

At dusk Kim and I took a sea kayak across the bay. Sealions and turtles watched out uncoordinated paddling. Some gorgeous blue and gold reflections in the water from the setting sun reflecting off the orange cliffs.


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