We started out pretty much being lazy tourists in Isabela. Well, not Lisa, since she climbed up a hill and then down into a hole, while Roger and I spent the first day doing boat projects, communing with the internet, and eating out. The second day Roger continued to uphold our reputation for laziness (actually, he was conducting a valiant war against a cough) while Lisa and I went out doing our best to counteract his success.
We rented bikes and rode with the Stella Polaris clan some seven kilometers along a sandy road to the Muro de las Lagrimas, or the Wall of Tears. It was a good trip, if grueling because of the heat, and I think we all had a sense of accomplishment to accompany our guilt from having touristic ambitions for an historic site that engendered so much suffering.
Back in the years between World Wars I and II the Ecuadoran government set up a prison on Isabela that became notorious for its harsh treatment of prisoners that were, I understand, far from notorious themselves. Besides general starvation and brutality, the prisoners were made to endure the construction of a stone wall that served no purpose whatsoever other than stoking their days against the thoughts and energy for rebellion. It’s thought that at least one man died while working on the wall and one rumor is that they just built it up around him. I suppose his ghost still lingers there.
Our mecca here has been the Cafeteria Booby Trap restaurant. The owner’s husband, James Hinkle, is the representative on Isabela for our agent in Galapagos. They’ve got a nice kitchen and a patio dining area downstairs. Above they’ve opened a bar and upstairs dining area with a wonderful view of the beach that wraps around the bottom of the island to its southernmost peak, Cerro Azul while Sierra Negra looms from the north. The meals are quite good, though expensive by cruiser standards, and their bartender is top notch. Oh, and their (sporadically) decent wifi has attracted more than its fair share of our attention.
We’ve booked a tour for today to Los Tuneles, a boat ride to a lagoon formed among collapsing lava tubes. It’s populated by blue-footed boobies, sea turtles, and reef sharks. Tomorrow we hope to do a guided hike to Sierra Negra and Volcan Chico, the second largest volcanic crater in the world short of Ngorongoro in Tanzania.