If you look noticed the picture above, great! But also not great! This is Caleta Tagus, a cove located on Isabela Island.
The photo I included for reference does not do the cove or the volcanic lake justice. In the photo, the water looks like a murky greenish-blue. However, in real life the lake is a beautiful, glowing jade, ringed by the red brush and yellow rocks around. In the background of the photo, at least you can see the ship we took.
As usual, we rode a Zodiac from this ship to get to the island.
Once the boat had docked, and we had stepped onto the island, we saw a huge, flat, vertical rock covered with scrawling graffiti.
"Why is there graffiti?" a man asked.
"It's historical graffiti, you see?" said the naturalist. "It's banned now, but old boats used to mark up the rocks with paint when visiting the island or exploring."
Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of this wall, but it was interesting to see the numbers and years painted on it in red and black in front of the lake. However, the best part of Caleta Tagus was yet to come.
Avoiding a seal sunning on the beach, we walked over to the trail and began our hike around the crater. For the wildlife, other than seals, there were red crabs, rusty orange and yellow "land iguanas", and Darwin Finches. These delicate, plain brown birds were what inspired Charles Darwin to come up with his famous Theory of Evolution.
It was incredible getting to hike around the lake. First of all, who wouldn't like to walk on a volcano? With the gorgeous turquoise color of the crater lake contrasting with the red of the brush, and the sea stretching for miles around us, Caleta Tagus had an arid, earthy beauty to it. Second of all, getting to walk by the bird that inspired the idea of evolution was amazing. It was humbling to see these tiny birds flitting around me and realize they inspired an earth-shattering theory.
In fact, so groundbreaking was this theory that it was argued over, debated, and scandalized before changing our understanding of life forever.
Leaving Caleta Tagus, I was eager to explore the rest of the island. After all, Caleta Tagus is only one part of Isabela Island. If you look up a map of Galapagos, Isabela is the biggest. It's the one that looks like a sea horse.
Though leaving this bay was slightly sad, I was left with new inspiration, and a better understanding of why these islands are so important, both to protect and to visit in the future.