In order to get to Isla Isabela we had to take a 2 hour boat ride. The cost was $30 each for one way. We just went to one of the tour agencies and bought a ticket couple of days beforehand. The boats left early in the morning 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. We opted for the 2:00 p.m. boat ride. So on Friday January 13th, 2017 (okay, that should have been an omen) we said farewell to Santa Cruz. Tom and I wandered around the main strip and then I decided to have an ice coffee and relax. Tom walked around for a bit and then met me about a half hour later. Together we walked by the fish market and saw the gathering of pelicans, sea lions and a heron. What was different about this trip to the fish market was that a sea lion was next to the woman who was filleting the fish barking for food and every now and then she dropped some of the innards which the sea lion gobbled up. Also, when the innards were being thrown to the other animals, it was the heron who told the others in his own way, "back off, this is my domain" and surprisingly the sea lions and pelicans did back off. I found this surprising because the heron is slender with legs that looked pretty wobbly compared to the sea lions that could weigh up to 500 lbs. The hierarchy of the animal kingdom is so interesting!
As the time approached for us to leave, we packed up our luggage and off we went rolling our luggage down the roadway and onto the pier where we waited our turn for our luggage to be inspected. When checking my luggage, I had packed in the outer pocket my water socks, which I had not worn yet. The last time I had worn them was in Costa Rica the year before. The officer at the inspection point asked me to dump the sand out, which I did. To get to our boat we had to take a smaller boat (they call them pangas- at a cost of $1 each) and from there we boarded a bigger boat. On board with us were several nuns, one who hiked her habit up and climbed up to the second level of the boat with her camera. There were a group of young adults, an older couple (around our age) and a couple of families. There were approximately 25 people onboard with us not including the staff of 3. Needless to say, we didn't hear any English being spoken.
I never thought much about the fact that before we left the guy who was tending to the three motors was yelling up to one of the crew members on the upper deck (remember this was Friday the 13th). I just thought they were doing their final check of the motors. Since the boat ride was around 2 hours long we expected to arrive on Isla Isabela around 4:30 p.m. (we left Santa Cruz closer to 2:30 p.m.) in the afternoon, plenty of time to get to our room and relax a bit. WRONG!
At 4:00 p.m. the engines stopped. We were supposed to be about half an hour from Isabela. So, one of the crew comes down to the engine and there is yelling back and forth but no luck, the engines were not starting. Out comes the cell phone and the crew member goes back up to the upper deck. Now we don't understand anything that has been said. At no time did the crew say anything to the passengers. The nuns and a couple of other people started singing songs from the Titanic (oh yeah, that was so reassuring)! I'm listening to my iPod, Tom is stressing, and all I can say to him is that nobody seems to be in panic mode...but that is all I can say, and at that point I really wasn't worried. So later another attempt is made to get the engines going with the result being that one engine started up. Although one of the engines was functioning, I soon realized with the waves it was like going forward one step and then back 2. It was hard to believe that we were only about a half hour away from our destination yet we had not moved very far at all over the last couple of hours.
The clouds started to roll in,and there was a bit of rain and the sun was starting to set. What would happen once it became dark out? Then all of a sudden another engine kicks in and we were finally going...the speed had definitely picked up. Don't ask me how that happened because when it did happen no one was tending to the engines. As the sun starts to set into the sea, we see a coastline, a few boats. Thank goodness, even if the engines were to conk out, there were other boats nearby.
When we got closer to the shoreline, we were put onto a smaller boat and taken to shore. This had to be done a couple of times because the smaller boat was also carrying all the luggage. We arrived on shore at 7:00 p.m. Our 2 hour boat ride had turned into a 5 hour ordeal. In addition, when we got onto the smaller boat that would take us to the pier we were each charged $2.00 (usually it costs a $1.00) but because it was after hours the price was doubled. The young adults in our group spoke to the crew of the smaller boat, it was like a mild argument. We later learned that the passengers were telling the crew of the smaller boat that it was not our fault we arrived late. The crew told us we would have to complain to the owner of the boat. I know $2.00 is not a lot, but we were tired, and patience was short. Every one looked tired. We landed in the dark, not knowing our bearings. Our next step would be to get a ride to our accommodations. Stay tuned.