The pilot uses a hand-held GPS to navigate
Galapagos and Amazon -Feast for the senses (and stomach)
Now we understood why there was a 25 lb luggage weight limit for the trip. I kept mine to 21 lbs so it wasn't my fault we were 100 lbs over on the weigh-in. The 5 and 9 passenger prop planes don't have the safety factor a large commercial jet has I guess. At least they didn't charge extra for checked bags....
I'm not sure it's routine for passengers to jump over the ticket counter and duck under the baggage door and walk down the conveyor belt; but that's how we scrambled to reach our luggage in order to extract anything we could do without for a couple days. The planes weren't taking off until we lightened the load 100 lbs.
We took the same path back to the passenger check-in area before being escorted through the security screening. What's the point - we were already on 'the other side' sorting our bags. Must have made the attendants feel useful I guess.
The twin engine wing over 9 passenger plane I got into was beat. But the pilot had a white shirt and tie on so it made me feel better. It looked like all the instruments were in working order so why did he have a bright yellow hand-held GPS on the dashboard? He kept poking at it when we were inside the clouds during most of the journey.
We didn't think much about the commotion between the other 3 members of our group (Brenda, Bob and Fabio) on the ground in Isabella when they said one of their plane's doors opened during flight. Not until later when Brenda (a pilot herself) explained the seriousness of the situation did we realize that had things gone just a little differently, they may not have made it.
Isabella's village area is sprucing up with curbs and sidewalks going in along the sand street. After checking into rooms we head out for an afternoon mountain bike ride. An open-sided bus trails us for breakdowns. Along the beach and up into a park, the scenery is fantastic. The thin clouds take the edge off the sun and keep it comfortable. Now we find wild tortoises crossing the road oblivious to those wheeling by. We stop at a series of short walks to observation points atop hills, swamps and ponds on the lookout for plants and animals. Isabella has similarities and differences from San Cristobal. I can't recollect them precisely of course but the lava fields are immense.
After lunch in a local restaurant (dirt floor, canopy roof, plastic chairs - good food) we headed for a boat ride, snorkel and walk with the iguana. The cove was a convoluted maze of lava flows - The captain was definately experienced, pausing to wait until a swell passed over a reef so he could clear it without clipping his prop.
The waves stirred up the water diminishing visibility but watching the penguins along the shore and walking through the marine iguana colony made up for it. How can you tell the difference between lava and marine iguana? The iguana move. I nearly stepped on dozens walking along - the creatures look like they morphed right out of the rough black/gray lava. Like most of the other critters we encountered, the marine iguana cooperated with our filming.