Marine iguanas are to Isabela what sea lions are to San Cristóbal: legion. While we have seen the odd one before, here the moment we stepped onto the pontoon in Puerto Villamil they were everywhere. Basilisks basking on black rocks, part chameleon, part dragon. The place to really marvel at them though is Iguana Bay. The wall by the Casa Rosada is thick with them and it is quite extraordinary. Casa Rosada is the beach bar in the signature pink building that takes Mastercard, maybe that was the draw, observed Xavier drily (there is no ATM on the island), although the whole train of them along the wall was more of an Americano Express. The iguanas lounged around in all sorts of positions, suggestive of ménage à trois, à quatre ou bien cinq… maybe that was another reason Darwin nicknamed them “imps of darkness”
We stopped by at the bar pretty at some point every day we were there. The boat kids were all in seventh heaven there playing on the beach, making up endless stories in the tree house, and queuing up for goes, again and again, on the slack wire rigged. SHAWNIGAN’s five year old Taj and PELIZENO’s Zenon throwing themselves into jumps and bounces with gusto, while the others took a more sedate approach to mastering their balance. One of the bartenders, so I heard from the others, was a real pro on the slackwire, and one afternoon I saw him on a break practicing neat tricks. With my circus cap on, I knew it would be wonderful to get some footage and share with circus-loving community on Instagram (#circuseverywhere indeed!), but it took me a while to steel myself and go over and ask. Of course, being of a generation that has grown up with social media Sthalin was cool and agreed, pulling over his amiga Thalia to join him as well. Afterwards we chatted about slackfline, and then about the circus scene in London, the 250th anniversary this year and Circus250 celebrations. I showed them accounts of tightwire artists who do amazing equilibristic feats that I thought they would like. Blake Wallenda (@bwallenda) in the US, of circus family royalty going back generations, Ellis Grover (@ellisgrover) in the UK and Pirates of the Carabina on in CircusFest at the Roundhouse (see video - click here) and UK-based Finnish Hanna Moisala (@hannamoisala) performing on tightwire in the Sahara (see video - click here) sprang to mind instantly. Later that evening I wondered if Blake’s ears had been burning when I noticed that he was the first person to like the video I shared - the coincidence certainly made me smile, and Sthalin too when I told him later! It’s a very small world indeed.
The last time I stopped by there, was on the way back from the bike ride with Francis on our last evening. Thalia, whose full name is Isabel, was looking every inch a circus spirit, fun and free - she had just had her body painted head to toe with all all sorts of Galápagos marine life and celebrating with a caña liqueur cocktail from the artist. She was, quite literally, the embodiment of the island.