We began the day early to head out snorkeling on the north end of San Cristobal. Along the way to our first snorkel stop we saw humpback whales! We stopped to admire the grace and beauty of the mother and her calf. I enjoyed that our guides kept us on schedule throughout the day but we never felt rushed or hurried along while watching and experiencing the wildlife.
We stopped to snorkel in a bay and saw Galapagos iguanas along with penguins and blue footed boobies on the shore. There were a few sea lions swimming in the coves around us but our guides cautioned us to give them a wide berth since the dominant male was pacing and presenting himself aggressively. We were alright getting back in the boat anyway since the water in the cove was a little brisk. We cruised onward for a "wet landing" at a nearby island where the crew prepared a nice lunch of tacos as we walked around the island.
The island was very peaceful as we walked and kept an eye on the ground for all the beautiful shells, crabs, and other marine life that washed ashore. I never felt cold as we walked around but it was a different feeling than being in the caribbean or a central american beach. I kept my rashguard, hat and plenty of sunscreen on as we walked around.
And we had a little fun with Kicker Rock in the background :)
That afternoon we motored up to Kicker Rock also referred to as Leon Dormido (sleeping Lion) and I was in awe.
I didn't realize the force of the currents washing through the channel between the rocks but I was distinctly aware of it as we jumped over and into the water. The currents change from one direction to the other so our crew positioned us on the correct side and gave us the signal to swim towards the channel. I hung on to Matt's hand for dear life as we were swept through. We saw dozens of Galapagos sharks about twenty to thirty feet below us. (Note: there has never been an attack here since the food is so plentiful for the sharks but try telling that to our adrenaline-infused brains as they curiously swam up to see us.) Our guides swam down ten to fifteen feet to meet them and appease the sharks' curiosity. It was unsettling and awe-inspiring to watch these beautiful beasts swim so peacefully right below us. I periodically picked my head up above the water to give my eyes a break from the scene below. Then I would quickly plunge my head back underwater for fear that I would miss a moment of the experience. After a couple minutes we came out the other side of the channel and out guide signaled for anyone who wanted to get back on the boat to follow him. I glanced at Matt and gave him the thumbs up that I was happy with my Kicker Rock experience and would enjoy getting out of the water now. He too was happy to follow Tomas back to the boat and process this mind-blowing experience we had just encountered. The rest of the group continued on around the side of the rock with our other guide - viewing starfish and other marine life.
Matt and I sat back and watched the side of Leon Dormido and we motored around the giant rocks to complete our 360 tour. It had been an amazing day and we settled back to process and enjoy all of our memories made in the last 8 hours.