PUERTO BASQUERIZO MORENO - KICKER ROCK AND INTERPRETATION CENTER
San Cristobal Travel Blog› entry 7 of 22 › view all entries
(WOOHOO GETTING MY SNOKEL GEAR READY)
OMG I WOKE UP AT 7AM!!!!! The zodiac to kicker rock is at 7am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mum woke me and I took me 30 seconds to dress up I did not even brush my teeth. Mum was bummed that she could not make it. I ran to the aft of the boat to catch the last boat. I forgot my sun glasses in the cabin. I just could not forget my camera of course.
I jumped on the zodiac and this time I had Freddy as the naturalist. Gosh I was a sleepy head. This is the first time I met the other NY family, Ken and Tiara and their 2 daughters, Courtney and Catherine.
We arrive at kicker rock; it was a sight to see. It looks like the southern hemisphere version of the Gibraltar rock. On the side view, it looks like boot.
Along with Isla Lobos, the most popular dive site near Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is Kicker Rock (a.k.a León Dormido). Kicker Rock, named because it vaguely resembles a boot, is a small, distinctive island off the coast of San Cristóbal comprised of two rocks which jut out of the ocean to a great height. Kicker Rock is home to a large colony of sea birds, such as boobies.
Kicker Rock is an excellent dive site.
The surface can get quite rough, and the water is pretty cold. It is an intermediate site for divers, and an advanced site for snorkelers. If you intend to snorkel and not dive, you still might sight a hammerhead. I would love to go back to dive here next time.
There were sea lions hanging out there. While we were all hanging out there. There were a couple of pacific green sea turtles. DAMN I could not a get a photo when a sea turtle’s head pops up to breath. However, I just enjoyed the experience.
The weather was perfect. It was not that hot and breezy. We circled kicker rock. This was amazing. Eduardo was not our driver today. It was Juan; he drove in between the 2 rocks then In unison the Xpedition was between the 2 rocks. It was photo perfect.
After that, we saw whales breeching. WOW that was awesome. I have never seen that before. There were about 3 of them. I saw the bigger one maybe the dad flips his tail.
As soon as went on board the ship, mum, cindy and Daniel were there to ask me how was it. They all slept in. I got some breakfast. Then I blogged for a bit and took a nap before I pick up my snorkel fins and wet suit.
Then I woke up at 12pm to walk around the boat to stretch out. I walked passed the bar and Oscar was working. He is the nice guy he always has my bottled water ready when I pass by. I decided to hang out for a bit until 1pm to pick up my snorkel fins and wet suit. While I was sitting there, I noticed every time Oscar serves liquor no one pays with their sea card (use to purchase goods on the boat).
I asked Oscar, if this is an all inclusive ship.
After a shot of vodka, I went to deck 6 to get my snorkel gear. After that I blogged and ate a light lunch. Then there was an afternoon brief about the snorkeling excursions for Tuesday. I want to start slow. I will start on the beach first then work my way to the advance level.
I went back to take another nap before the 4pm excursion to the island of Espanola.
I walked down Charles Darwin ave. there were locals playing volleyball. I went inside a hotel and asked how much per night. I could not believe the clerk told me it would be only $15 a night. I was not bad looking. All you need is a bed and hot water with a shower. Mum was taking too long shopping that I just wandering around the port taking photos of sea lions sleeping near the playground. After that we jumped on the zodiac back to the ship.
San Cristobal or Chatham the easternmost island of Galapagos is also one of the oldest.
Home to one of the Galapagos Islands' two airports many visitors will begin and end their tour here. With a relatively good infrastructure including hotels, restaurants, buses, taxis and visitor information it is one of the easiest islands for people interested in exploring the islands on their own.
An easy walk from town Frigatebird Hill offers a fantastic vista. San Cristobal's highlands are sprinkled with farms, the island's first settlement El Progresso and El Junco, the only freshwater lake in Galapagos.
Red-Footed, Blue-Footed and Masked Boobies make their home on the eastern side of the island at Punta Pitt.
Cruise to spectacular Kicker Rock, or Leon Dormido, the jagged remains of an old tuff cone whose flanks are covered with seabirds.
Visits on San Cristobal
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the provincial capital of the Galapagos and the second largest settlement area in the islands and home to one of the island's two main airports. It originated as a penal colony more than a hundred years ago. Now a sleepy town overlooking the harbor known for its relaxed attitude. The beaches near town are one of the few places where visitors are allowed to camp in the islands, the National Park Information Site located just outside of town is happy to provide information.
In 1998 the Galapagos National Park Visitor Center was opened in Puerto Bacquerizo. The new buildings, lush gardens and sweeping ocean views are a strong contrast to the 1960's style buildings at the Charles Darwin Center, exhibits include the island's natural history, human interaction, ecosystems and flora and fauna.
The Galapagos National Park opened a new Interpretation Center in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island in March 1998. The opening of the center represents the first phase in the Interpretation and Environment Education Project for the Galapagos Island, funded by the Government of Spain.
Other phases of the project will further develop a range of interpretative elements for the center, providing information on Galapagos and San Cristobal in particular through a guided, interpretation of the exhibits and materials, and educate Park and Station personnel and naturalist tour guides.
The Center will focus primarily on the history of the archipelago, from its volcanic origins to the present. Two interpretation panels, representing the natural and cultural history of the archipelago are linked together in chronological order. The center includes a small outdoor stadium, meeting rooms and audio-visual equipment for the entire Cristobal community to enjoy. The Center serves as both an interpretative locus, and a community gathering place.
It is also the place where cultural activities take place, including theatre, exhibitions and workshops.
The Charles Darwin Foundation and Galápagos National Park Service work together and not only focus on protecting nature, but on the participation and education of the community. A perfect example is the Interpretation Center. Located in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island, its ideal layout for children appropriately teaches the natural and human history of the Galápagos Islands. Opened in 1998, I was very impressed with this Center, as it was very modern and easy for children to follow. It explains ocean currents, the first conquest, forests, the finches, Darwin’s expedition, human visitation to the islands, and exploitation and attempts of colonization. These sections of the interpretation center are displayed through pictures, diagrams, interactive objects and games, short easy descriptions in Spanish and English, videos and colorful cartoons.
The Charles Darwin Research Station promotes environmental education also through two new projects. The first is a series of educational materials called “Guias Didacticas de Campo” or Field Teaching Guides that teach children of the unique environment of the Galápagos with field trips. The second project is a book for children called “Un Montoncito de Tierra en el Mar” or A Little Mountain of Earth in the Sea. While the students read, they learn mathematics, language, social studies, natural sciences, and even ethics while studying the environment.
How Can We Improve the Galápagos National Park?
* Find ways of having sustainable fishing
* Develop methods that will not diminish the number of animals present
* With 20,000 people living on the islands, and growing, we must find a peaceful way for humans and animals to live together
* Require limitations on tourists
* Need development of real ecotourism
* Cause as little damage as possible
* A larger percentage of the tourism revenue needs to stay in the Galápagos for means of conservation.
Even though the Galápagos National Park still needs improvement, it has been very successful. Ecuadorians are extremely proud of their National Park. As a developing country, Ecuador is doing a great job in the management and conservation of its National Park, when other more fully developed countries lack the motivation and community involvement of their National Parks. A perfect example is the fact that 92% of the endemic animals from before Galápagos became a National Park are still alive and flourishing. This is remarkable since man first visited the Galápagos in 1535.
Frigate Bird Hill
A short hike from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno it is a nice way to spend the afternoon.
The trip to the Hill takes approximately 20-40 minutes. Once there visitors are treated to a spectacular view of the white beaches on one side and the roofs of Puerto Baquerizo on the other. The hill is often visited by Frigate birds, giving it its name. Both Magnificent Frigate birds and Great Frigate birds can be seen. The birds are not always present, making it is best to ask park officials as to the best times to see the birds when planning your trip.
San Cristobal's Highlands are normally only visited by locals and those visitors who extend their stay in Puerto Baquerizo.
Though local guides are available in town, the Highlands are one of the few areas within the islands where visitors are not required to travel with a guide. It is possible to do your own exploration either by foot or by hiring a truck in town.
The route from Puerto Baquerizo follows the signs marked for El Progresso. This small town was established as a penal colony in 1888 by Manuel Cobos. The prisoners were treated a slaves and developed a sugar cane and coffee plantation.
The steep road narrows as it climbs the sides of the extinct volcano. At the summit visitors are treated to a spectacular view of the El Junco Lagoon. Rainwater and condensation have collected in the caldera for hundreds of years creating this haven for Frigatebirds.
Traveling to San Joaquin Hill is best done by bus or by truck. It is important to remember to bring rain gear with you just in case. The journey offers visitors a glimpse of the island's many zones and their eco-systems. The summit at nearly 2400 feet (720 m) brings visitors above the tree line.
Heading up the coast from Wreck Bay and Puerto Baquerizo, you will see Isla Lobos across a small channel off the coast of San Cristobal. The basalt island outcropping lives up to its name of "Sea Lion Island" with a noisy population of frolicking and barking beasts.
Kicker Rock (León Dormido), is located of the coast of San Cristobal. The remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea, the two vertical rocks rising 500 feet from the ocean form a small channel that is navigable by small boats. This natural monument has become a favorite sight for cruises due to the many Tropicbirds, Frigates and boobies that fill the surrounding air.
Beneath the sea the nearly crystal waters offer a brilliant show of colorful tropical fish and invertebrates.
Due to the sheer vertical pitch of the rock face, landings are not possible however many cruises do spend 45 minutes to an hour allowing you to enjoy the full experience.