Last full day in the islands, and it’s been a good one. Scuba diving at Gordon Rocks was the best yet — the cold and the currents made it a challenge, but several hammerhead sharks, a scorpion fish, huge schools of other fish, and the usual cast of sea turtles and sea lions made it a memorable one. Unlike Southeast Asia the diving here is in deep water surrounding volcanic formations, and it’s a really neat experience to be following a honeycombed wall that drops for several hundred feet while the silhouettes of hammerhead sharks pass by above. I very nearly froze to death on the first dive — I was still shaking when we started the second dive ninety minutes later, but the sea life and underwater scenery definitely made it worthwhile.
Aaron was able to contain the “crap your pants” stories when we got back, so the late lunch was fairly uneventful. I made a quick trip over to the research station to visit the tortoises in the afternoon, but unlike our visit with Greg the large tour boats had stopped by with their legions of senior citizens — during the trip Greg made the comment that it’s a shame so many people wait to come to a place like this one until they’re retired, and as a result they aren’t able to enjoy everything that is here. A one mile hike might have killed some of the folks I was seeing today, much less the 5:30 AM to 9:00 PM regimen that we experienced with Greg. I’m glad that I was able to take advantage of the credit card company’s generosity and do my two trips here while I was still young.
Paul and I spent a bit of time looking back at the trip after the dives today, and it’s been one of those rare times when every day offers something we’ll remember forever — day one with the sea lions, day two with the huge rookery and the beautiful Elaine (who if she ever reads this journal should know that I’m single and willing to travel to any remote island you happen to be working on), the ultimate high of snorkeling with orcas on day three, and the list goes on and on. Trips like this one make me feel that my life in the “normal” world probably won’t last much longer.