After the Research Station we spent an hour exploring town and eating lunch before meeting with our tour. We packed onto a small boat that took us along with 14 others out into the ocean. The boat was staffed with a driver and a guide. The guide knew a bit of English, enough to provide some sidebar explanations of points of interest. We were the only gingos on the boat. After the guide gave his main explanation of the topic on Spanish he (along with everyone else on the boat) would turn their attention towards us to give the abridged English version as we nodded to show the message received.
We trolled around the rocky outskirts of Academy Bay, spotting pelicans, iguana, sea lions, and Blue-Footed Boobies. After finding a suitable spot for snorkeling, the driver cut the engine and demonstrated the basics of snorkeling. We jumped into the ocean, with gear on, to be treated to views of tropical fish and underwater plants. Shortly before heading back to the boat a small reef shark (about 2 or 3 feet) came very close to my face. I quickly spit out my mouthpiece in a panic, but the shark wasn’t aggressive. He flipped directions, seemingly as startled as I was.
Our final stop of the tour was to dock the boat and go for a short hike to Las Grietas. The Galapagos featured several very distinct biomes ranging from lush vegetation to volcanic and desert like. On our hike in we walked past an active, natural salt mine. The water was tinged with an almost fuchsia color. Las Grietas was a large crevasse where the island rock had a deep separation. We climbed down a slippery wooden stairway that led to a landing where you could jump in. This area was pretty crowded and it was a fight to get through the small entrance area. The water was cold and very clear. Swimming in the crevasse was a bit unsettling. When you looked up through the gap in the rock walls to the sky it felt as though it could swallow you up without warning. We climbed back up the slimy stairway and made it back to the boat the return to port.