Our last day in the Galápagos Islands dawned sunny, for a change. We had a relatively late breakfast at 7.30am, and a pretty relaxed schedule planned. It was technically a free day, but Veronica offered to lead us on a 15 minute walk to a lagoon usually frequented by flamingoes. We don’t have a great deal of confidence in Veronica’s time estimates, since the 45 minute volcano hike turned into a 4.5 hour marathon! But this was on flat, dry ground, and we all took up the offer.
It did take longer than 15 minutes, but mostly because we kept stopping for photos. And there were indeed several flamingoes. Nothing like the numbers we saw in Kenya, but much pinker than those were. I find it interesting that such a pretty bird inhabits such an unsavoury environment (brackish water) and feeds in such an unpleasant way (filtering the mud through its beak). We took too many photos (of course) and waited for a while in the hope that one or more of them would fly away, to get the classic running on the water shot. But these flamingoes were much less skittish than the ones in Kenya, so no luck on that score.
We walked back from the lagoon along the beach. It was hot, the sky was blue, the ocean sparkling, and the rocks and sand full of sunbaking marine iguanas. You would think we had enough shots of these prehistoric-looking creatures, but apparently not. There is a timber elevated platform on the beach, as a kind of lookout, so we wandered up there to see what we could see. There was nothing particular to see, but it gave us a great view of the beachfront.
We spent quite a while at the beach, lingering and enjoying our last day and the sunny weather. When we got too hot and thirsty we headed into a shady cafe for lunch and a cool drink. We stayed there for quite a while, trying to stretch every moment. While we were there it clouded over and actually started to rain.
We had plans for the afternoon to have a rest and then wander down to the little harbour to take some photos. The evening before when we got back from our boat trip there were lots of boobies diving into the water, and there are usually playful sea lions, iguanas, and even penguins. However our rest extended longer than we planned and we missed that opportunity. D’oh! We did however wake up in time for happy hour. We gathered at Bar de Beto, our favourite spot for one last drink. We have been learning several new South American cocktails, but tonight we opted for the special Cuba Libre (rum & Coke) which was 2 for the price of 1, and seemed to go with the atmosphere of the bar and the island.
We had to have our last dinner at El Cafetal again. All the meals there have been great, and the same waiter, Edilbert, has served us every meal – he felt like an old friend. The special of the day was a huge platter of grilled seafood. Mmmm. And to thank us for our custom he treated us all to a slice of Tiramisu for dessert. In such a sleepy place a group of 14 turning up for meals every day (we always booked and usually pre-ordered) must have made a bit of a difference, and we really enjoyed the friendly service and great food – a win-win.
After dinner we headed for the beach for one last bit of light painting – this time with a difference. We each took turns with a small coloured LED light “drawing” Galapagos animals in the air to be captured on “film”. Some of us had more success than others, but considering it was something we hadn’t done before, I think the results are pretty impressive.
Despite the fact that we would have a ridiculously early start the next day, a few stayers (Chris, Jess, Vicki, Jan, Keith & I) headed to a different beach bar for a nightcap. The Iguana Point Bar sits at the end of a pier, and is an archetypal beach bar, with a palm frond roof and sand floor. We had tried to go a couple of times before but the hours seemed somewhat random. We didn’t stay too late but it was nice to stretch the day a little longer, before heading back to our rooms to pack.