Concho Perla – Isabela, Galapagos Islands
With all day ahead of us, we decided to put the snorkel gear to use and explore Concha de Perlas on Isabela. The pier is only a fifteen minute walk from our hotel and this bay is located to the left with a boardwalk over the mangrove.
A short walk on the boardwalk led us to a tranquil lagoon with crisp, clear water- perfect snorkel conditions!
When we got to the dock, several people were snorkeling and observing the massive seal lions overtaking the small area. There is no place to put your belongings other than a pole with rods as hangers (do not bring anything valuable!) so we picked a rod for our bag and sat on the stairs prepping our snorkel gear (“watch out, they spit”). As we were almost ready to enter the water, two adult sea lions decided to make their way to the water down our staircase. There was not enough room for us and the sea lions and in my opinion, they totally win. Kevin remained calm and moved to one side while I climbed the railing to make room for the sea lions bulldozing down the stairs before transforming into a graceful dance beneath the water. I do not know if we would ever get used to them!
Not wanting to miss the chance to swim with the sea lions, we quickly entered the water to watch.
Their swim session did not last very long so we turned our attention to the coral and fish below.
Struggling with our goggles, we sat back on the stairs to defog (more spit) and just then, no more than two feet in front us of, a small black head floated by- our first marine iguana actually swimming!
By the time we got back in the water, his speed surprisingly surpassed our flippers. We did not have to wait very long to spot another marine iguana making its way across the bay and we watched fascinated by the long tail propelling the iguana through the water.
The next encounter was with a sea turtle grazing the ocean floor. With a private and uninterrupted view, the sea turtle elegantly move from the bottom floor to the surface, repeating the motion twice as we watched it disappear into the distance.
This snorkel spot was so satisfying filled with great wildlife, calm waters, and few people. We packed up to make our way back to the hotel but not before a bit of a dilemma on our walk back. The narrow boardwalk was first sprawled with several large marine iguanas. Knowing they would not move for us, we delicately maneuvered around them. Several feet later we encountered at least six sea lions lying horizontally in close proximity to each other (as sea lions do) completely blocking our walkway. Knowing (once again) they would not move for us, the difficulty level elevated. Marine iguanas, while long, do not have a big head full of teeth. While there was never mention of sea lion attacks, it was one of those things you did not want to test. But at the same time, in every instance we observed sea lions, they are indifferent to people.
So, like walking through hot coal, we hopped over the sea lions one at a time. At the opposite side of the seal lion formation, we saw a lady struggling to make the decision to go over them. While watching us gave her proof of success, her confidence was still low so Kevin helped her get around the sea lions. It really was hard to believe they have no interest and were not bothered by people stepping over them.
Of all the excursions we did on our own, this was definitely one of our favorites – how can you beat this uninterrupted and unique spot with nature. Continue to read about the rest of our time on Isabela Island!