André mutinied on our penultimate day. We had all assembled on Bartolomé and were half way through Rafael’s interminable briefing when André decided he wanted to climb the mountain before it rained, and headed off up the path on his own. This triggered a rather unfortunate display of anger and sorrow from Rafael, shouting first at André then, after he had left, at his (utterly blameless) partner Gigi. After things had been more or less patched together, and we’d reached the top of the mountain, Rafael took a picture of the whole group, asking us to say “I love you”. I mumbled “cheese” instead, through gritted teeth.
After lunch we returned to Santiago for a walk along some pāhoehoe lava flows at Sullivan Bay, and another excellent snorkel from the beach. I almost bumped into a gigantic ray while adjusting my mask. I was convinced that its wingspan was at least four feet - Wikipedia says they can grow to six, so it's not completely implausible. Anyway - I managed to back-pedal quickly, and it just flapped away gracefully. We also took a detour on the way back from snorkelling to see a few Galápagos penguins on a nearby rock. Maybe that's a good argument for buying a waterproof camera, or at least a prescription diving mask.
Susan and André skipped the afternoon snorkelling and sat on the beach instead. They were quietly discussing the morning's excitement when they were approached by a French woman who asked whether they were talking about Rafael. She had been living in the Galápagos, guiding part time, for around fifteen years, and knew him as one of the oldest guides from when she started working. Apparently we weren't the first group of visitors to have had some friction, sadly.
The Darwin then made the run to North Seymour, near Baltra (and the airport) before dropping anchor, meaning that we'd have the luxury of not being underway at night. A pod of dolphins appeared part way, swimming along with the boat just under the bow, and one jumping in the air occasionally, seemingly all just for the fun of it.