Las Tintoreras – Isabela, Galapagos Islands
After a full morning of hiking up the Sierra Negra volcano on Isabela, we were looking forward to some time off our legs in the water. Our after afternoon activity – first time paddle boarding thanks to Galapagos Bike and Surf.
We arrived at the pier and met our instructor, Junior, who gave us a quick pep talk and one rule- person that falls first buys the drinks. Neither of us had paddle boarding before so we figured this was fair- game on!
We started kneeling on the paddle boards getting used to the feel of the boat and the mechanics of rowing. A few minutes passed as we were encouraged to stand and I knew this would be the time we would fall… until we noticed sharks swimming underneath us. I cannot image the sharks would be so chill if we fell on them unexpectedly. Steaks elevated- no falling.
Junior repeated several times to not focus on the board when standing but easier said than done. I began questioning why we didn’t just kayak… then Kevin could have paddled for us with no balance required. Noticing my hesitation (again, sharks), Junior told me to look at him and stand up. I did as he instructed and I was up before I realized it and with an incredible view of the water below. It was easy to be distracted by all the wildlife to forget the balancing act.
While I certainly lagged behind the boys, I took my time and did not fall. Out first stop was a penguin colony where we got a distant view of the small (second smallest in the world) Galapagos penguins.
We crossed the bay and paddled through a few waters before making it to our snorkel spot around the Tintoreras. Our snorkel session was just shy of an hour where we got to see multiple sea turtles, a wide variety of fish, and rays.
Back up on the paddle board, we paddled back to just before where the waves started that created the wake at the shore line. Junior had us get on our knees to ride one of the waves into the beach. Just as he finished his instructions, three sea lions began to play all around the paddle boards, constantly going under and popping up inches away from our boards. I thought at one point they were going to jump up onto the boards! It was an incredible several minutes with this group of sea lions.
Once the sea lions swam along, we rode a wave to make it back to the sand. No one fell- paddle boarding success! We had so much fun paddle boarding and with Junior- so happy we did not kayak as the vantage point standing on the paddle board was priceless.
Another very physically active day, we showered at the hotel before grabbing drinks to unwind at Bar de Beto to watch the sun set over crashing waves and the pelicans diving for dinner.