Los Tintoreras, a small volcanic island immediately off the shore of Puerto Villamil, is the best short tour in the Galapagos you could possibly take. Before Alfredo, our most experienced guide appeared, a marine turtle was investigating the area around the pier where our boat was soon departing.
Ten minutes after leaving the dock, we saw the Galapagos penguins. We were not there long, and it is a bit dicey taking photos on a small moving boat, but this guy did not want to look at me. There were about seven of them. These third smallest penguins are only found at the equator.
Our first blue footed booby!
More low flying frigate birds.
We landed for a short 30 minute walking tour that included this marine iguana, who by his color indicates he is old enough to mate, 17-20 years old.
How many iguanas can you find on this pile of lava rocks?
A sea lion colony inhabits a private lagoon so we did not snorkel here. Look closely and you will see a tiny, young sea lion on a lava rock while his father watches from off to the left.
The water is warmer in this less than six foot trench that Alfredo called a lava fissure for the several small white tipped sharks and a mating marine turtle couple. The male lifted his head to take a breath every few minutes while the female stays under for plus or minus four hours!
Alfredo led us snorkeling in the lagoon beyond the rocks where the humans are standing. I was not equipped for underwater photos like some folks, but I have the images imprinted on my brain of the five different marine turtles, countless reef fishes, many large surgeon fish, many small and large parrot fish, the one very big spotted eagle ray, and the one very small white tipped shark that only I saw.
The water was coolish, but if you kept moving, you kept warm. I wore a long-sleeved rash guard, had brought my own mask with special lenses that I have had for a while and snorkel, and was supplied with fins. If you had no equipment, it was all provided for you. The water was not pristinely clear, but I could see fine.
The other tourists included people from Argentina, Brazil, and Ecuador. I was the only English speaker, and Alfredo told me the English version of his information. He has been a guide for over 35 years. The tour costs $45 for three hours. It was well worth every penny.