We headed back down to the Malecón to take a taxi to La Playa de Alemania, or German Beach, where we hoped to see some sea lions. It was late so I was not very hopeful because our guide that day told us the sea lions sleep all day and hunt at night.

The taxi we took was a boat that, for 60 cents, took us across the bay. I wish I had known about these taxis earlier – I might have just whisked back and forth for a while, or talked one into taking me on a ride around the bay. There were so many great boats to shoot.

When we got to the beach there were no sea lions. I was a little disappointed, but the beach and the views it offered were beautiful. I could not resist wandering down a secluded path, and I found myself dreaming of living behind any one of the gorgeous gates. I love the all the gates here. Painted bright colors or made of darkly stained old wood, wrapped in flowers of all sorts of colors, tangled with vines, they beckon me. I want to peek behind them, to see what treasures they keep from me, to know what life is like behind such a beautiful barrier. I see them and imagine a world filled with lush flowers and soft lawns and lazy afternoons spent with friends over chilled lemonade, decadent tapas and memories made iridescent by the distance of time. Perhaps the imagining is better than the reality, but one can dream. We made our way back to the bay to grab another taxi and headed back to the Malecón.

See those photos here.

After another nice meal, we headed back to the hotel. The two younger women got ready for a night on the town. The two “more mature” women got ready for an early night. It was a long three days, and we were planning on getting up very early to have a bike ride before we had to leave paradise.

And so we did get up early and we grabbed a taxi to go find a bike rental shop. We had about an hour before we had to return for breakfast and catch our ride back across the island to the airport. Unfortunately, there was no shop open. So we strolled a bit, stopping at the fish market at Pelican Bay to watch some fishermen with some lively lobsters, some happy dogs frolicking in the space left to them by the low tide, a man washing the fish he had just bought, maybe a breakfast treat for his family. We wandered on, with no real purpose, and a definite fog of melancholy about us, taking everything in one last time and spotting new surprises, trying not to focus on the inevitable end to such a wonderful vacation.

And then we found ourselves once again at the Malecón. Just before you get there, there is a naval base, and just inside their gate is a covered area that overlooks the bay, and lying under that cover, sleeping off a hard night of hunting, were four sea lions. I tentatively approached a seaman at the gate, and with the best Spanish accent I could muster, and with the biggest smile I could give, I asked him very nicely if we could enter to photograph them. And he said yes. Something tells me it is an activity they are used to allowing, and that it had little to do with my enchanting smile, but whatever. I saw sea lions!

I was not on a beautiful beach, surrounded by the majestic but still playful beasts, sunning and barking and hamming it up for the camera. No, I was under a shed, watching four sea lions sleep it off like drunken sailors after their first night of furlough. But again, whatever. I saw sea lions.

Finally the time demanded we leave, and so we walked back, I a little happier for having seen sea lions, as if the Galapagos wanted to give me one last, tiny little gift.

See those photos here.