Today, we went to Las Grietas, which means cracks, fissures, crevices. Basically, they’re big cliffs filled with sea water. The water doesn’t get a lot of sun, so it’s really cold. But it’s also very clear. We had to take a water taxi from the main island across the bay. There, we hiked into Las Grietas across some very rocky landscape. There were some very noisy local kids already swimming at Las Grietas when we arrived. They kept throwing water-filled bottles into the water and then diving after them. My eyes are watering right now just thinking about opening them under salt water. One of the kids in particular was pretty fearless. He kept climbing up the side of the cliff and then jumping in from great heights. I tried doing the same once, but the climb up was a little scary in wet sandals. After an hour or two at Las Grietas, we left and hiked back out to a beach by the Finch Bay Hotel. The hotel was very impressive, and the beach was shallow and really warm. We stayed for 40 minutes or so and then returned to the water taxi.
For dinner, we walked to a hotel/restaurant called the Red Mangrove. It was beautiful. From the street, you enter the hotel via a small, 50-yard boardwalk through a tunnel of mangroves. In the main lobby, there are several colorful hammocks hung between wood pillars. Brightly-colored sheets decorate the ceiling; the sliding glass doors overlooking the bay remain open, letting a nice sea breeze blow through the place. Small flood lights shine out at the aquatic scene just outside the doors, illuminating various crabs and fish. The occasional gecko is visible on the earthy orange walls, and a version of “No Woman, No Cry” by an Okinawan folk band plays on the stereo. They serve sushi and other Japanese fare. They accept credit cards.
We met Emily and her roommate Mauricio and ate a wonderful dinner. Emily told us that the son of the guy who owns the Red Mangrove is actually in jail for drugs or something. There are about three people in jail here on Santa Cruz. They occasionally let the son out for birthdays and holidays, etc. Emily said she saw him once in the streets and said, “Oh, you got out?” And he said, “no, I have to go back tonight.”
The story – strange and set against a gorgeous backdrop – seemed to fit perfectly with our whole Galapagos experience.