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Isabela
Galapagos - An Amazing Vacation

The first sea lion greets us at the pierThe first sea lion greets us at the pier (Suzanne Hoffman)
Today is Isabela day. We start out on a small bouncy bus and ride for about 45 minutes. Even if we see nothing else, the day is already interesting - just seeing what the inner parts of the island look like. We have a local guide (I had no idea before we got here that there was any such thing as a 'local' from the islands!) who showed us around an area that had been a radar station during WWII and also a prison island for the mainland. A key site is the 'wall of tears' - sounds like the guards were at least as bad as the prisoners. I guess alot of countries have bad histories. We see wild tortoises (I've now learned that they're not turtles) and remnants of a concrete basketball court. There is no fresh water on the island - how much we take for granted! We also go to Villamil - a small town with a beautiful beach. It's a bit surreal as the residents who are out in the middle of the ocean and living a life so different from everyone on every ship that comes by, seem oddly unaffected by all the strange visitors who wander around their town. Harry gets a large beer and I a soda and the total is only $2.50! (Oh yeah - I have forgotten to mention that the official currency is U.S. dollars. Yet another thing I had no idea about - how can one country use another's money as its official currency?!) In the afternoon we hike to the Sierra Negro volcano caldron. It is a long hot walk - but it's always nice to be outside and the view is worth the wait. As we head back to the ship, the seas are pretty rough and I focus on the inside of the panga and not the swells around us . I am determined not to be nervous about anything on this trip . The crew is extremely safety conscious - so they also instill confidence. Not surprisingly we are back in the Pinta in short order. The sea stays rough and I get my first experience in being seasick. It's not too bad - but I can only eat a few bites at dinner. Normally I would not mind and God knows I don't need anywhere near as much food as we get on the ship, but it seems a shame to miss out on even one fantastic meal. The dining room is noticably empty as many are affected - even our guides - so I don't feel like too much of a wimp. Even though I don't feel too great tonight - it's another great day!

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