As I mentioned, we’re off the official tour now. I want to take this time to issue a late foreshadowing alert. What I forgot to mention earlier was that over breakfast one day, I was talking to Filipe about guiding and he went through the list and as a throw away, said, “Make sure the client doesn’t get taken advantage of by the services.” I didn’t pay much attention at the time, but I should have noticed the thunder clapping and the chill enter the area, and the evil “Bwah-ah-ahh” that echoed in the background.
Now back to the story. We took a nice walk around the grounds with the guy who owns the place. They have big plans for the tree –fort resort including a dining hall in a cave! Sounds like a great place to have my next Twilight theme party. As our taxi was coming at 12.00, we didn’t have as much time there as I would have liked, but there were fish to be caught! It also meant we would have to skip the Darwin Center and a chance to see Lonesome George. The last of his species. I still feel bad about this.
So we meet our fishing guide and head back to Puerto Ayora. Because we’re taking the water taxi we don’t need to take the ferry to Balta, so we hang around the port waiting for the water taxi guy to decide that he’s ready to go. We kill time by eating m&m’s, looking at shops again, and talking about what it would be like to live there, all the while I’m watching clouds roll in and thinking, this is NOT going to be a fun ride. The trip to San Cristobal is supposed to take 1.5 to 2 hours; it takes us more than three. Three hours of soaking wet, stomach churning, “I wonder if we can swim from here,” agony. Remember how I said that boat trips start with that moment of freedom? Not this one. For whatever reason, even the bay was choppy this day. It was so bad that the family traveling with us had a little boy who had the foresight to start crying immediately when he got on the boat. It was like he knew. What did he know? He somehow knew that the boat would break down in the middle of the trip. I kid you not; we were bouncing along when I start hearing a loud “brack” noise. Then again, and again. Now I’m not sailor, but I know enough to know that loud popping noises should not be coming from an engine unless you are making jiffy-pop on the manifold. Then, sure enough, the boat sputters to a stop. So now we’re bobbing in the sea while the captain and the first mate try to figure out what is going on. Did I mention that neither the captain nor the first mate was driving the boat at the time? Guess who was? Yup, our guide, Ronnie. The funny part here is that Ronnie was nice enough to let Sander sit in the captain’s chair next to him, so when the boat broke down I got to look at Sander and say, “What did you do?” And he gave me the funniest eye-brow raise, hand out shoulder shrug I’ve ever seen. At this point another water taxi pulls up, there’s a long exchange in Spanish, one of our passengers gets out and says something in Spanish to our crew, everyone laughs and he hops boats. Now I’m sort of hoping that we get to do the same, but I also realize that Ronnie is now the guy in charge of fixing our boat, so it seems highly unlikely that we’ll be able to move to the working boat. We don’t. About 40 minutes later, Ronnie the guide, driver, mechanic gets the boat moving, heads back to the helm, and we’re off.
We finally arrive in San Cristobal. The good news is that we’re off the boat. The bad news is that we have two days of fishing the perfect storm waters ahead of us. See, our final goal of the trip was to catch a marlin. I found a fishing company called EcuaGringo (Do NOT, under any circumstances use this charter. Ronnie’s great, I can’t stress this enough, but the charter company itself…not so great. There are plenty of options in the Galapagos, leave this one to the suckers-that’s me. This is my recommendation and opinion, do with it what you want), and we were set up for two days of marlin fishing.
Excited and tired, we went to bed that night dreaming of marlin.