Next day, I was off to Santa Cruz, the main island of the Galapagos. Or let’s say the one the most tourists arrive at and stay on. Probably because, of the three main islands, it is the one in the middle, offering easy access to the two other ones. From Santa Cruz, it takes about two hours to San Cristobal and two hours to Isabela.
The owners of my hostel on San Cristobal had a deal with a hotel on Santa Cruz, which made my arrival very easy. Someone was waiting for me as I got off the boat and took me to my lodgings. Complete luxury.
One of the places of interest Aline had been talking about was an island called North Seymour. So I went to one of the agencies offering tours to this and other places. It was quite expensive, about 180 $, but now I was at the Galapagos, I might as well enjoy it as much as possible. After finding out which boat was leaving to North Seymour on the following day, the agency owner announced that there were still two available seats, which, I thought, was good news. Except the owners of the boat refused to sell only one of them. The agency had to get rid of both seats at the same time or none of them. I was outraged. I felt discriminated for being single and travelling alone more than I ever felt discriminated because of my gender or the colour of my skin. Probably because it was so very direct. And because it is a discrimination that is real but about which no one seems to care that much. Being single is mostly considered as being a temporary condition anyway.
I tried a few agencies but as the boat that was leaving was the same, so was the answer. They offered to try to find another person travelling alone so that I would be able to join. But, on second thoughts, however real my frustration about not being able to discover the place, I decided that it was out of the question to spend my money on an excursion on which, obviously, I wasn’t desired that much. For just a few dollars less, I could take a diving discovery course. If not in the Galapagos, where would I ever do such a thing? So I registered for the following day and went to spend the afternoon at the beach, to wash away my anger.
To get to Tortuga Bay, you first walk about 2 kilometers to get to the ocean. There, you find a big white sand beach, which you follow for another kilometer and there you find it. A small, peaceful bay populated with mangroves, habitat to many of the Galapagos species. The walk had already quietened down my spirits and I thought the sea water would finish the job.
I had hired snorkeling material but I quickly understood that is was not the best spot to snorkel. So I got back out of the water and gave in to one of my favorite activities: watching people. I had to smile at a guy’s attempt to seduce a lonely lady. And, at the same time, felt relieved he hadn’t picked me. Wearing a wetsuit when all the other women are wearing bikinis helps in not being a first choice for a prey. Actually, when walking past me, the man had greeted me with a “you sure won’t get cold with that stuff.” Whether concerned with my comfort and health or intrigued by my outfit at a place where people don’t usually do snorkeling, I did not know. The only thing that mattered is that I escaped possibly annoying advances. And I felt sorry for the lady who hadn’t had that luck. Even more so when I observed him putting on the same show with another victim about an hour later on the bigger beach, while I was walking back to my hotel. And with a third one, in the village, later that night.