Monday, September 21, 2015

Los Tuneles, Isabela island

This is Mike...
There are few places that are as amazing as los Tuneles on Isabela island. The scenery is like nothing we have ever scene before. The lava flows formed a series of underground caves and over the millennia the seas rose to almost cover the caves. Over time most of the cave ceilings collapsed leaving thousands of lava pillars sprinkled with many arches and tunnels.
For us modern visitors, we see what nature left behind. Imagine a thousand black lava spires breaking the surface of the water and as such reducing any currents and ocean swells to flat placid waters. The white sand sea floor provides an amazing contrast to the black lava. The water is crystal clear allowing you to see the turtles, penguins and fish swim by without any effort. The terrestrial life is also stunning with the cacti and grasses providing shade for the many bird colonies. The many islets that were created also keep any invasive predators at bay. This is the Galapagos of Charles Darwin's era, stunning and peaceful and abundantly alive.
We stopped by a mangrove bay to swim with huge sea turtles, sharks, and sea horses.

A sea turtle swimming by.

Zoe keeping an eye out for sea horses.

The sea horses like the mangrove because it is a perfect nursery

We could swim within a couple of feet of the penguins. Penguins are amazing swimmers, darting through the water like lightning.

Sierra and I going under one of the many tunnels

We found a lobster shell that was the result of molting. 

The kids loved horsing around with the old lobster shell.

Sierra tried imitating the Chiquita lady on the boat.

The pillars extend all the way out to the ocean breaks

A different world

One of the many surviving arches

Placid and crystal clear waters

Some of the arches or tunnels are massive and very picturesque.

Easy to see why this is such a special place

I loved how the cacti grow in these stark conditions.

Blue footed boobies doing a mating dance with a family of boobies behind them watching on.

Elise loved diving with a school of golden rays

A good image to show how the pillars form a maze of protection from the ocean currents.

Sharks love hiding in the shade during the daytime.

The girls got relaxed on the journey leaving the tunnels

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