"Its mostly flat, and then there's a few stairs, and then it's flat again." These are the deceptive words we have heard repetitively on our journey. Hills and steps have presented themselves virtually very day of our trip so far, punctuated by a variety of landscapes and heat (90% humidity to volcanic, Mars like desert dryness).Great treasure often takes some effort to find.This morning was no exception. We climbed the lava paving stone stairway and walked a tidy hot meandering path. The lava geckos from our previous trip to Bartoleme Island were cool enough to hold still for photos of their red bellies. Many of the cacti were more than 200 years old. The Galápagos cacti are unique as the lower portion of the cactus turns to a beautiful red bark tree trunk as the green pods continue to grow out of the tops toward the sky.

The real treasure was when the trail opened up to the white sand stretch of beach sprinkled with Galápagos lizards. Not friendly, but unafraid, we were able to get close enough to look in their eyes and walk side by side with these prehistoric looking animals.

If we thought the hot humid walk back to civilization was a challenge, the idea soon was overshadowed by our island crossing.We merrily spilled onto a small boat that took us to a bigger boat where we squeezed in amongst locals and tourists for a 2 hour wild ride. Needless to say, some had upset tummies. Our island destination, Isabela Island, only has a population of less than 14,000 people. There is a small airport with 6 seater commuter planes, but they're schedules are not dependable. This is one of those discomforts of traveling in a foreign country, but when in Rome... When in the Galapagos Islands, you squeeze into an over capacity boat and ride the crashing waves to your destination.

We had to get out of some wet clothes before checking out the flamingoes. The flamingo population here went from 10,000 to 500 during El Nino 1988. They're now back up to 900 birds, not an easy feat for animals that only breed every two years!Flamingoes are born white with a straight beak. Their color develops over time from their high carotene diet. If you eat too many carrots, your skin will also change color! Only a few birds produce milk. The unique thing about flamingoes is that both male and female birds produce milk!After an adventures and salt filled day, it was good to roam the little village, have a nice $8 dinner and get to bed early.