On our last morning in Puerto Ayora, not wanting to trawl the souvenir shops again, I made a second visit to Tortuga Bay and the lagoon. The sky, sea and sand created a brilliant strata of colours, pale yellow, blues, turquoises and white in the bright sunshine. A whimbrel, pelican and larva gulls obliged by posing for close-up shots. Sally lightfoot crabs scuttled across the black larva rocks. I walked the curve of the bay to the area of the lagoon. Unlike my previous visit the tide was low, the sea was not as blue and there were small piles of pale brown and red seaweeds along the shoreline –not quite so appealing. I paddled around looking for life underwater but in vain. Disappointingly the blue-footed booby was elsewhere.
Sights on my return journey however lifted my spirits – marine iguanas striding out across the wet sand, front leg and diagonally opposite hind leg forward, then the other front and hind leg, head held aloft, dragging their long tail behind them (they leave a very obvious trail); marine iguanas entering the water from a rocky ledge and swimming half-submerged across a large shallow pool to the shore; a lone iguana entering the sea from the sand and surfing the waves.
There were several small fish of various species, some striped and others black with yellow fins, and pencil-spined sea urchins in the pool. At last I was able to use the plastic underwater camera I had brought with me, although I can’t believe that it takes real pictures! (I’ll have to wait to find out because there is still a lot more film to shoot – perhaps in the colder waters of west Wales).
I splashed my way back through the shallows along the bay to the long (about 2 km) paved path which is the only route to and from the bay, through the arid region, tall prickly pear cacti extending upwards on either side. Finches and mocking birds darted in and out of the vegetation. As I returned briskly (I was in danger of being late) many local people were making their way in the opposite direction with surf boards, snorkelling equipment, lunch. How fortunate they are to be able to spend their Sundays on such a beautiful beach.
I reached the Hotel Laguna as our luggage was being collected to be taken to the port whilst we ate lunch at the Isla Grill. We walked back along the main road towards the quay for the last time, past the small souvenir shops, the large colourful conservation posters, the communal volley ball area and the giant statue of a sea bird. We queued at a wooden shed to have our bags inspected to check that we were not removing animal or plant material, living or dead, from the island. We then joined other passengers to have a very bumpy fast boat ride (the boat was on a significant slant for much of it) to the island of Isabela where we were to spend the final 4 nights of our trip.