Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Galapagosh A Rooney

The plane flies over the open Pacific for an hour or two. Then islands appear below, not tiny ones. We land on a flat scrub and cactus covered spot, take a bus for a mile to a channel, a boat across the channel, and a 50 minute bus ride to the main town, Puerto Ayora.

It´s humid but not horribly hot. I walk around to several of the cheap hotels. Their prices are much higher than the book says, and they are almost all full. Strange, you would think that in the midst of a recession in the off season it wouldn´t be that way. I find a simple room for $15.

By now it´s about 3 and I head out for the famous Charles Darwin center. It´s about a half mile to the end of town past not that many restaurants and souvenir stores. Then over another half mile and increasingly hotter to get there. I´m hoping to see hundreds of giant tortoises at the end of it.

Disappointment. There´s a total of about an acre of enclosures, and maybe a dozen tortoises walking around. Not all that giant, either, although I just saw giant sea turtles in Oman, so maybe now I´ll never be satisfied. I was able to sit about six feet from one and stare for twenty minutes. She seemed to be saying, Í sure hope that you have this all figured out more than I do. I tried to look confident.

In the evening all the hundreds of rich tourists take launches back to their small to medium sized tour boats. By the next morning I am horribly bored with Puerto Ayora. I pay $30 for the two hour ride in a thwapping speedboat in open ocean. We then arrive at Puerto Villamil, the only tiny town on Isla Isabela, by far the biggest Galapago island.

Then I settle in, on Saturday finding a room right on the beach, complete with sea breezes, hot water, and a fridge. $20 a night, and I start in on my self imposed discipline of trying to write 3000 words a day.

Said days are thus spent in concentrating for hour and a half bursts, then walking around on the beach to look at all the iguanas wandering back and forth, maybe taking my daily dip, walking the couple of blocks to ´downtown´to try and find edible food, walking the half mile to the internet place. Kind of idyllic.

They have a turtle station here which is much nicer and has many more turtles. The islands though are dry deserty volcanic places, like much of Baja. The only tortoises I´ve seen in the wild were only around 18-24 inches. They do have very silly necks and heads.

The volcano caldera tour is supposed to be a bust, since it´s been raining like crazy on the mountain. It´s cool having Sirius on the top of the sky when the stars are visible. I still hope to go snorkeling, and am trying to arrange a boat tour. All those things are expensive.

And it´s very hard using this keyboard at the internet place.


At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has taken me awhile to catch up and I hope you get this message before you come home. After your bumpy start, the last place you write about seems pretty neat. Maybe your silence since the last posting means you are click-clicking away on your book. I do hope that writing is going well as I look forward to the next installments. I wonder if you are in fact writing about New Haven whilst sitting on the equator...sound a bit dizzying.

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mike, I am an old friend from Yale. Class of 1970, Joanthan Edwards. I thought I had found Chuck Apel at NASA Ames but he seems to not be there any more. Anyway, good luck with your book, or whatever, and maybe we'll get together some day.

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