Chapter 11::Table of Contents::Chapter 13

Chapter 12
Part 2

Fri Nov 24.

Took the 4 hour ride to James Bay at Santiago. Along the way we saw dolphins in the distance, and at all times were surrounded by islands. As we approached James Bay we could see a volcanic cone nearby . This one we wanted to climb.

We arrived amidst rumors that it was possible to catch a goat on the island. In fact when we pulled in there was another boat right next door where the fellow was cleaning 2 goats. Frigate birds and pelicans were all around to pick up the scraps. Then off to the beach. [1]

At the beach we started trucking up along the trail over the strangest landscape so far. Big rippling lava flows in some places and in others it was ropy lava, just mounds of big jagged chunks. Near the shore the layers were evident and more erosion by sea water caused caves, niches, bizarre rock cliffs and bridges.

Our first stop was to chase goats. N. saw a couple and we scrambled over some lava chunks past the remains of some old wooden buildings. No luck. Then farther on N. saw some more, set his camera down, and the last I saw he was running off into the bush. Dan went with N. but the rest of us proceeded around to the crater lake. I came around a corner and there below was a pink lake inside an old volcanic cone . The lake was used in older times as a source of salt. Then back down the path. [2] At one rest stop we got close to & photo’d some Galapagos Hawks .

Ben and I decided to truck up the big volcano we’d seen coming in. We followed a trail all the way around the back only to discover that the trail just went down to the beach. So we did a 90o turn straight up. Scrambling over loose dirt, rocks, and sand. 2 steps forward - 1 step back. Sometimes in almost impassable undergrowth - bushes with thorns that won’t even supply a hand hold the topsoil is so thin. Ben was way ahead of me but I finally made it to the top. There we ate some gorp & walked along the rim to the highest point . Not slippery but windy. At the peak we were visited by another hawk that hovered only 3 or 4 feet overhead.

After catching a buzz we decided to walk back down the front side. At first, altho' steep, the traction was good. Then we hit the slippery stuff. Ben again was way out in front. At the top he told me of good hiking around Huras in Peru and Torre del Piney in Argentina.

I slipped and skidded down the ravine, at times like a crab on all fours, at more coordinated times, one foot on each side of the ravine . We finally made it down and by this time my feet were hurtin’. I’d worn only tennies & the top of my left big toe was rubbed raw. The first stop was the water. I could feel my feet sizzle when they hit the nice cool salt water. [3]

Back at the boat the capt. had managed to score some tuna from the park ranger boat parked near by. [4] We had another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat complete with pot. However- during my scramble down the volcan, the film can with the pot must have fallen out. [5] Not much lost but a bummer none the less. After stoning - the conversation became scatological in nature.

Sat. Nov 25,

Didn’t sleep too well last nite. Kept waking up with my leg asleep. Perhaps due to not being able to lay on my stomach due to a sunburned face.

TNG for breakfast again. The bananas will last one more day.

First order of business is to see the fur seals. Back to the beach but this time the other way. Past more fantastic lava flows and erosions. Soon we were on top of the fur seals. Smaller, wider heads, and thicker fur than the sea lions, the fur seals were only slightly more difficult to approach . They’d swim into a pool away from the surf that looked almost like a zoo display. We also saw a yellow crested night heron .

We photoed the lava & seals and then came back to the boat and motored to Espumillia Beach, just down the line. By now my feet were really hurtin’. I went ashore barefoot. A beautiful beach with clear blue water, nice sand, and driftwood. Just inland was a salt water lagoon that Ben & I saw from the top of the volcano. Here we saw 20-30 flamingos. All feeding so it was hard to take a pic with heads up. As soon as we showed up they walked off to the other side of the lake.

While on the beach waiting for Raoul, Cath. decided to skinny dip. Soon Ben, Else and I followed suit. Almost immediately we spotted the capt. coming out in the launch. The girls joked that this was due to their nakedness. Ben swam back to the boat but the rest of us got dressed and came back in the launch.

We had a lunch of lemonade, crackers & butter. I retired to write while we’re under way to Bartholomé. Just before our arrival at Bart. I went on deck to get some sun and to try and dry out the sores on my feet.

We pulled into a beautiful bay dominated by a fantastic rock jutting up into the air . From the top it must look like this: [6] but from the side: [7] Filled with jagged holes & spires. I got some pix of the same boat as yesterday in front of the rock again with pelicans & frigate birds.

Jaap, N & I cooked up tuna surprise [8] (look how little food we have left, surprise!) After dinner we treated to the last of the cookies. Then we broke out a real 52 card deck and played an 8 handed round of hearts. I won.

Sun Nov. 26,

Awoke to sore feet and the last of our bananas. Ben broke out some raisins he’d been holding back, so at least we’ll have something for tomorrow.

Had a leisurely morn about the boat and then headed off to shore. My feet (esp. the left) have sores on the tops of the big toes. Very tender.

We climbed up the incredible lava landscape to the top of the peak. Tremendous tortured landscape. Fiercely jagged and crumpled mounds of lava surrounded by sand . Green and orange lichen on obviously once molten globs of lava . Barren and desolate plains littered with debris from countless eruptions. Once on top the landscape unfolded into something no less than unbelievable. One thin green strip of land bordered by beaches leading off to the mainland was the only visible link with the ordinary world. The rest could have been from Mars - no problem.

I came back down early due to paining toes. I sat by the landing, soaking my feet, watching the capt. & Raoul bagging some crabs for lunch. [9] They tried diving for lobster but no luck. While sitting there - a couple sea lions swam around looking at me. Soon the capt. & Raoul were ready to go back to the boat. The others were still up the hill but I came back to write & soothe my tootsies.

When the other folks got back they had the munchies. So we cooked up some rice and topped it with a sauce made from soup mixes, with crackers on the side.

After lunch we went back to a beach the other side of the big rock. There, Els had been sunbathing while the rest of us were eating on the boat. We frisbeed, stoned and swam. Cath was sunbathing nude and came over to smoke some with tits flapping in the breeze. Beautiful beach.

As the afternoon dragged on a big tour boat [10] appeared in the distance. Soon our nude bathing was ended by an “invasion” (as the tour guide girl put it) of stereotypical European tourists with sagging white skin, straw hats, and camera equip. up the wazoo. The tourists (all 26) geeked, gawked, snapped & swam.

There was a possibility of buying some beer off the boat, but Raoul was unable to make the connection.

On the launch going back to the boat, Ben, Cath & I saw 2 penguins sitting on a rock. We hurried to the boat, got cameras, and rushed back to take photos . While Raoul & Ben almost tipped the boat trying to steady it against the jagged lava rocks, Cath & I took pix. Got a couple.

For dinner we cooked up a big pot of beans and fried potats. [11] Getting towards the bottom of the pile. On the beach one of the tourists told us that the fantastic pinnacle of rock nearby was shaped by U.S. war boats using it for target practice. So much for the wonders of nature.

Mon Nov 27.

Awoke to our last batch of terranaut glop with a generous helping of raisins.

Then off to Seymour Island. Along the way Raoul, who was driving , suddenly started hauling in on the big orange fishing line that’s been trailing out behind the boat for the last 10 days. Our luck finally changed. He pulled in a nice 8 lb tuna. Immediately our food supply looked better. When he started reeling in a second time - with another even larger tuna - Ben was dancing around going “Atun, atun, tenemos atun!” Now our food supply looked mighty fine.

At Seymour we landed, sore feet and all, and went off to find some wild life. The flora by itself was beautiful. Cactus, red & green low creepers, yellow flowers, quite a change from barren Bartho. Then we saw the frigate colony. Interspersed with frigates were a few blue footed boobies. Along the beach we also saw a lava heron, swallow tailed gulls, and maybe even a brown noddie.

Back at the boat Raoul had cooked up some fish soup for himself & the capt. With their leftovers, our noodles, soup mixes & canned tuna, we cooked up a truly hemongous batch of tuna casserole. Then off to Santa Cruz (the north end) to see turtles. From the boat we saw a big manta ray jump in the distance. Must have been 15’ across.

We landed on a beautiful beach, me without shoes. The turtles (supposedly) were over a nasty lava flow at another beach. I borrowed N’s shoes & trucked over. He picked his way with bare feet and flippers. At that beach we saw only one turtle (a sea turtle) but many tracks leading up to the beach. We also saw a great blue heron .

The rest of the afternoon was spent nude sunbathing, frisbeeing, and generally enjoying the beautiful beach & sun. We took photos of each other, and I took one of Cath. standing nude in the surf - covered with sand. Beautiful.

Tonight Raoul was in charge of the dinner. He cooked up potatoes, rice, lentils, and massive amounts of tuna upon which we stuffed ourselves. We looked at the stars for a while and then retired to the mosquitoes & warm night air.

TUES 28.

Awoke early to Won Ton soup from Els & Jaap. They’d been holding it for the last day.

Off we motored to Plaza Island. Not volcanic in origin - a tilted uplift with cliffs on one side and a shore line on the other. Ashore we finally saw land iguanas . Only slightly less ugly than the marine igs. Other than these, some swallow tailed gulls, and other assorted small birds, the only other things to see were the red plants and green cactus forming nice color contrasts against the sand . A small place.

Then back to the boat. We had left over fish for lunch.

During the 3 hour ride back to Puerto Ayora, I asked Cath. about food and such for our prospective camping venture on the island. Earlier it had been understood she’d camp with us - favors or no. But she opted for a real roof and some local color - Raoul. [12] We were a bit bummed, both N & I wanting to get into her pants, but who can figure women?

Finally at our Destination, we paid the capt. and went ashore to check on military flights, and to eat. The first rest. was closed. So we went with the capt. up to a Chifa and ordered a beer  After that we stopped next door for some bread.

At the captainia we inquired about a list for the military flight. There was no list - we were told. But we’d run into Cath. again who’d already signed up. We pressed & finally got to sign a list (in erasable pencil) but were told there was no flight this week due to repairs being made on the plane. [13]

Then off to the now open rest. There with Dan & Ben we ordered up a mediocre lobster dinner [14] . Els & Jaap came in and did the same. After eating we were still hungry so we scoured the town for food. This is a 1/2 horse town when it comes to eats. The fresh baked bread is good, but the market closed its doors in our faces; and we stopped at 4 stores finally buying only jam, and cookies. We went back to our tent and retired to a munch of bread, jam, and cooks.

Earlier, while setting up camp - we cleaned out the pipe & smoked our last scrapings. Oh well - fun while it lasted.

[1] We’d made terranaut Glop again this morn but Else was getting tired of it and couldn’t eat it.

[2] On the walk up & down the volcano we saw many little lizards. There are also many finches around. Even come out to the boat and eat our bananas.

[3] N & Dan had also climbed the volcano. The capt. brought N’s camera back.

[4] Later Raoul got some of the goat we’d seen being skinned. That’s for tomorrow.

[5] Through the rat-chewed hole.

[8] The others went ashore to swim.

[9] They’d whack ’em with the oar and toss ’em into the launch. Others were cornered and caught by hand.

[10] The Bucanero

[11] Dan & Raoul went to the tour boat to try and score some beer but the bottles couldn’t go out of the bar.

[12] She said she was going to "shack-up" with Raoul. A very egotistical lady -        always playing all ends towards the middle.

[13] Before eating we went off to the campsite and pitched our tent on the cinders and spines. While looking around for a suitable site I lost my balance & grabbed a tree for support. It was a cactus tree. While pulling the thorns out of my mitt - Cath. who had been following Ben, Dan, N & I - came up to me. She was going off to meet Raoul later. She picked up on the fact that we were bummed out (closed rest., no flight, no nookie, etc.) but what could I say?

[14] for $3.00

Chapter 11::Table of Contents::Chapter 13