Sunday, October 7, 2012

Galapagos-Day 3

Our tour was set to depart at 8 am, late compared to our recent departures. We set the alarm for 7 to get breakfast in and ready in plenty of time. Oh, but someone at the hotel got it wrong, twice. Even though we confirmed it twice, turns out the pick up time was 650.

As luck would have it I got up early to wash my face and put in my contacts so when the call came at 710 and again at 716 I did my best to stay cool amidst the fire alarm start.

I hate rising in such a manner because I knew I'd forget something as I haphazardly threw out essentials into the backpack.

We set off on a 30 second ride to the dock where we boarded a boat ride from hell. I blame myself for not asking enough questions about the tour and the staff for not divulging enough information.

The boat ride one was was 2.5 hours. If motion sickness is genetic I have my mom to thank, because it was miserable. I was finding the silver lining in missing breakfast as riders lost their own meals, but when the boat stopped in the middle of the Pacific so people could use the loo, that boat rocked like no earthquake I ever want to experience and I lost it. I was sitting away from Scott who does not suffer from such ailments, on the rear of the boat, where the constant wind in my face helped ease some of the pain. I heard another guest and American from our hotel say the tour better be worth the boat ride, as I hung my head between my legs, smelling gasoline and kimchi.

Mercifully when the boat docked, I found a small store and bought Ritz crackers and water to help settle my stomach. We then boarded a bus on what would be a lame trip and worst day of this vacation.

C'est terrible.

Granted the animals we saw were not behind cages, but it still felt like a zoo trip, perhaps due to the rapid pace of the day- 5 hours was to be spent on the boat. We saw wild flamingoes, penguins, sea lions, sharks, rays, and sea turtles. I'm glad I can say I snorkels in the Galapagos with sea turtles and Scott the eagle, manta, and sting rays. Something about their size freaks me out so I climbed back in the boat when they were found.

Penguins...and a blue footed booby.

After snorkeling it was nearly 3 pm, time to head back, and the point in the day I'd been dreading. We took a seat inside the boat this time, and I had hopes of the return journey feeling faster.

Not having spent a ton of time on boats nor knowing how to manage one, I can't accurately describe the scene returning-if the water was rough or the captain a poor driver, or some combo of the two. We pounded the water at each swell, what felt like a crash that shook the crates on board, and so much I have a bruise on my tail bone. But beyond that, at a few points (yes, multiple) I considered taking the walkie and demanding SOS when we ran out of gas three bloody times in the open water. Again, the lurching of the boat combined with the rank scent of gasoline permeating the air had me convinced I'd never have children as my eggs were probably destroyed by the fumes and thinking about giraffe legs of all things.

Again, I lost it...everything. The final engine issue came when we were 20 minutes from land and I truly considered leaving my pack and swimming. The smell was unbearable and I felt so wretched. The cherry on top was when I heard the guide say we'd only be able to use one motor, so it would be more like 45 minutes back to land. Though Scott had not lost his lunch, he did lose his cool. Stranded, on the ocean, in a foreign country, on a boat with an inept captain and your puking wife next to you could undue any man.

At some point in my stupor I heard the second engine kick in and Scott stopped rubbing of my back- we had arrived. We exited the boat onto a taxi ferry which would take us to dock. Scott snapped pictures of the company's name and boat, no doubt to write a great letter later. As the boat met the dock I lept off, dismissing the Spanish warnings to wait until they had tied whatever rope knots needed tying. I would never disrespect someone in a foreign country, but in that moment I needed firm land and fresh air.

Because we were so late in returning we didn't bother looking for our car, but walked the 5 minutes back to the hotel. The shower helped, and subsequent rest, and even light dinner of soup later.

We feel duped for going on the tour, but perhaps are alone in those thoughts. Others may have had a great time and more balanced inner ear, but I would say that would be our do-over day.

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