I was in the highest of spirits that afternoon as I walked to the beach to meet Pam.
Now, there are two beaches we frequent on San Cristobal.
Playa Man is your typical hangout. It is still smothered with sea lions and you can watch the blue footed boobies diving – but it just has more of a touristy feel.
There are toilets there and a little wooden hut, which dispenses beer and Magnums and occasionally plays a random assortment of tunes.
You can often watch the surfers and, although there are never more than about 15 people there, we tend to bump into a lot of people we know.
Loberia, on the other side of the town, is completely different.
It takes a lot longer to walk there and the beach, once you reach it, feels entirely wild. It’s my favourite because it feels like Galapagos to me.
You have to negotiate the undergrowth and walk past great swathes of black volcanic rocks where marine iguanas quietly sunbathe from dawn to dusk.
There are dozens of lava lizards and even the sea lions seem more active here.
The ocean is shalow and filled with rocks and we have heard great tales of people snorkelling with rays and mammoth turtles.
As I wandered onto the beach, I heard Pam yelling from the ocean.
“Come and see this, come and see this,” she called.
I half swam, half paddled out to join her.
She handed me her snorkel.
“Have a look at that,” she grinned and pointing about a metre away.
Well, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a sight.
As I dedicated fan of turtles, I had no idea they could grow so enormous.
The turtle swimming lazily beneath me could have fitted my entire body, curled into a ball, into his shell. He was a giant.
(Pam later told me that she had swum down beside him – to check he wasn’t a trick of the light – and estimated he was the length of her arm span. I don’t doubt it)
I spent a happy 10 minutes hovering above him in awe and even followed him for a short distance once he decided enough was enough.
Playa Man vs. Loberia? No contest.