Ecuador Day 9 – Baltra

Santa Cruz: Bachas Beach

Following the previous days intended itinerary we had breakfast at 07:00. However we realised we hadn’t moved anywhere. Our guide came down late for breakfast with the bad news that the boats engine still wasn’t working – they had attempted to get the boat started last night but once again it had spewed smoke.

Getting a definite answer of what we’d be doing today or for the next couple of days was impossible – he said only the National Park and the company could decide that. Our only access to the company or the National Park though was the Captain who was eventually dragged downstairs to talk to us. Unfortunately he didn’t speak any English so all communication had to go through our guide. Even after that they didn’t give any satisfactory answer and it meant at least another day of tours would be missed or cut short.

At around 09:10 we were told a boat was on it’s way to pick us up and take us to Bachas beach in 35 minutes, but by 10:30 there was still no sign of it. By this time the mood on the boat was sinking fast with everyone standing around expecting a once in a lifetime tour but not seeing anything. One couple that had joined us shortly before hadn’t even had the chance to do any of their itinerary yet. Amazingly 10 minutes later the boat arrived, sadly it only had one engine and not two like the guide had expected, so instead of 35 minutes it took 1 hour.

Bachas beach is an amazing sandy beach with some of the softest sand I’ve come across. The heat from the sun was intense and after only a few minutes I was starting to burn again. After a short walk we got to some rusty metal protruding from the sand with a couple of oystercatchers wandering around them. Apparently the metal scraps were part of barges that were left there during World War 2. Due to the locals pronunciation of barges this is how the beach got named Bachas.

American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)

Just after this we saw a great sight – three flamingos drinking in a lagoon. Never having seen any before I took a sully number of photographs before we headed back to the beach. On the beach the water was amazingly clear and you could see little white fishes swimming up to the beach and escaping before the tide washed them ashore. After 30 minutes on the beach we then headed back to the speed boat that took us to our boat.

Black Turtle Cove – Mangroves

We were back on our boat after 14:00 for a late lunch and after about 30 minutes was back on the other boat on another 1 hour journey. This time the boat was taking us very near to Bachas beach to a place called Black Turtle Cove. The cove is an area we had to switch to the pangas for due to it being densely filled with mangroves. Within minutes of arriving we spotted baby sharks, a spotted eagle ray and a pelican.

Galápagos green turtle (Chelonia mydas agassisi)

Slowly we moved around the mangroves and for some if it we had to switch to using oars. Eventually though we saw several turtles swimming around and surfacing for air. In this area we also saw another spotted eagle ray and a golden ray. Moving around for a while we did see some more turtles before heading back as the sun set. Just before leaving the mangroves the 3 flamingos we’d seen earlier flew overhead to go to either another island or a different part of Baltra.

Black Turtle Cove Sunset

By the time we were back on the Galapagos Voyager it was dark. For our evening meal we actually had a nice gammon steak with pineapple sauce. Afterwards we were told that they’d almost finished repairing the engine and that we’d be visiting the volcanic island of Bartolome in the morning.

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