Day 7 – We woke up off the coast of Rabida Island and discovered a couple of Galapagos sharks (7-8 feet long) cruising around the Letty. Rabida Island is the smallest island in the archipelago and in my biased opinion it is also the prettiest. The beach and the cliffs are comprised of red rocks, and the vegetation is emerald green. John had the pleasure of making friends with a sea lion, and we walked along the beach and investigated a small brackish lagoon just off the beach behind some vegetation-where Lauren hoped to see more Flamingos (unfortunately, the lagoon was empty). On the return trip to the Letty, we took a lingering dingy ride along the coast of Rabida. The water was crystalline and we clearly observed many fish from the boat.
When we returned to the Letty, I took a nap while John joined a group for snorkeling (this was a running theme the last couple of days, as I just wanted to rest up to have energy for the land activities). John had a very exciting snorkel and saw lots of sharks, a spotted ray, a diamond back ray, TONS of fish, and beautiful sea stars! Luckily, everybody from our group made it back to the Letty with all limbs intact!
In the afternoon, we had a four hour transit back to Santa Cruz Island. Upon arrival, we all loaded into a bus and drove to a tortoise sanctuary in the highlands. Getting to the tortoise sanctuary involved off-roading…in the bus. The good news is that the baby is still on board, and John, Lauren and Lleane had fun making “bouncing baby boy” jokes. We spent the night on this incredibly lovely property where we walked through a lava tunnel, enjoyed a nice dinner, and a comfortable bed that didn’t move! Ironically, we only saw two tortoises on the property because it is mating season. During mating season tortoises move into the low areas to mate and bury their eggs.