Exeter University Field Trip – Diary Blog Part 2

Guest blog by Alix Zelly

Welcome to Paradise

On arrival to the magical island of Isabela, one of the first words said to me by a smiling local was ‘Welcome to Paradise’ and after three surreal days spent here, I now know he wasn’t wrong! Isabela captivates you by its peace, unrivalled beauty and relaxed pace of life. Straight off the boat I headed to the golden, sandy beach which wraps across the south of the island, dipping my toes in the cool crystal waters to find I was sharing this drop of ocean with a small ray!

Isabela © Alix Zelly
Isabela © Alix Zelly

The main road running parallel to the beach holds a multitude of different tour operators and, from asking around, Los Tuneles is the must-go destination on the island. However, to avoid the disappointment we suffered, book in advance! My group joined a kayaking and snorkelling afternoon at Las Tintoreras. The guided paddle around the bay led us to a fishing crew who were washing off scraps and bloody chopping boards into the sea. What would seem gross to humans acted as an alarm bell to the island’s wildlife, from the skies to the sea. In our kayaks, we teetered on the edge of chaos as magnificent frigatebirds and pelicans flapped above waiting to dive bomb. Below our kayaks, eagle rays majestically circled and our pulses reached their limits when we spotted flickers of a large blacktip reef shark patrolling the bloodstained water. Once we paddled out of the chaos, we passed Galapagos penguins perched on rocks, and some even gave us a show in the water.

Isabela © Alix Zelly
Marine iguana on Isabela © Alix Zelly

Switching from exploring the oceans to the land, we headed up to Sierra Negra, a large volcano that last erupted in June 2018. The day started early as we walked in the drizzle and mud. As the crater started to enter into sight and the clouds rolled away, we took breath to enjoy the sheer enormity of the black hole in front of us. We headed onwards to the lava flows, a tough terrain that looked straight out of an intergalactic movie scene.

Sierra Negra, Isabela © Alix Zelly
Lava flows of Sierra Negra volcano, Isabela © Alix Zelly

As we reached the lunch spot, the views stretched for miles right to the blue ocean shimmers of the east coast of Isabela. From the heat of the highlands it felt like paradise returning to the ocean to shake off the sweat and dirt from an adventurous day.

Sierra Negra, Isabela © Alix Zelly
Looking over the crater of Sierra Negra volcano, Isabela © Alix Zelly

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Check out Part 1 of Alix’s blog.