Day 4 – In the morning we conducted a wet landing on the N side of Santa Cruz at Playa Las Bachas and hiked along the beach. We saw many sea turtle tracks and white flags that marked turtle nests (how is that for a great volunteer gig! I told John we should plan on doing that in about 10 years). From the coast we had stunning views of Daphne Major, Daphne Minor, and Baltra. A little inland we came across three Caribbean Flamingos. We were very excited about the flamingos because they were an unexpected treat. Neither John nor I realized that they lived in the Galapagos Islands. Santa Cruz is populated island, and as we walked along we saw droppings from feral donkeys and a cat’s paw print from a feral cat. Apparently, there are also feral goats and feral pigs on Santa Cruz. We did not see any feral, non-indigenous animals on our hike. We did happen to see many birds and lizards. Following our hike, I cooled off with a brief snorkel off of the beach (the water was murky and non-eventful), while John took took some amazing shots of pelicans diving for food. Our dingy’s motor died as we were en route from Playa Las Bachas to the Letty. We were officially “stranded at sea” until the Letty sent another dingy to tow us home.
After a lovely refreshing lunch during which the Letty refueled at Baltra and cruised to the W side of Santa Cruz to Cerra Dragon for another hike. We saw sea turtles playing in the water off the coast, and saw 19 land iguanas. It is mating season, and the males are lovely shades of red and yellow. We saw two more flamingos and hiked to an overlook where we had 360 views of the island, the ocean, and an exquisite view of the island’s volcano.