Friday: Isla Española: Punta Suarez -Playa Gardner (18/11)
After breakfast we rode to Playa Gardner, a white beach , quite a contrast to the previous black and red ones. Sea lions awaited us, different Mocking birds, light coloured Gal. Hawks and American Oystercatchers.
Note: This video loops – please stop it manually when you are finished watching it
During snorkelling we saw large Stingrays, Lobsters, Turtles and a number of swarming fish. Water here was colder with viz approx 10-15m.
Afternoon was a scheduled landing at Punta Súarez with plenty of sea iguanas with beautiful red and green shading. Many sea lions on the beach and in the water, dense vegetations with mocking birds that accompanied us. Many dead iguanas were testimony to global warming – two years before approx. 50% of the iguana population starved to death due to the sea grass and algae not growing as the water temperatures rose too high.
At the cliffs we could observe Gal. Hawk, red-billed Tropicbirds, Noddys, Blue-footed as well as Nasca Boobies and breeding Galapagos Albatross. We saw plenty of Lava Lizards as well as a snake, the beautiful Gal. dove and different Warbler Finches.
Saturday: Santa Fé – South Plaza (19/11)
At Santa Fé island we did a morning walk among the many catcti on which land iguanas fed and had beautiful vistas from higher up.
Per zodiac we rode past the opposite island, saw male sea lions patrolling their territory and during snorkelling we saw rays as well as a cleaning station for sea turtles.
While the boat transferred to the island, we had more opportunity to observe frigate birds following the boat.
At South Plaza island we viewed a bay filled with cacti and succulants in red and yellow. Plenty of the sea birds we had seen before, however here we saw the nests of tropic birds and were amazed at the speed with which they landed on the rocks to feed the chicks.
While the ship travelled to a sheltered canal for replenishing, we spotted large black-tipped reefsharks. From here the ship returned to Baltra for the night.
During supper the crew was formally dressed and presented a thank-you ceremony to the guests, tables were decorated with animals carved from vegetables and fruit and a dessert chocolate cake – yummy!
Sunday: Black Turtle Cove – Baltra (20/11)
An early morning outing by Zodiac to Black Turtle Cove (part of Santa Cruz) allowed us again to observe Blue-footed Boobies, Pelicans, Striated Herons, White-tipped Reefsharks, Eagle Rays, Gal.Turtles, mostly in-between mangroves.
Back at Baltra our fellow travellers and guide Efrain sadly left.
The ship was refuelled and soon the new passengers arrived for Itinerary B. How lucky for us to be able to stay for a second week. Maja boarded and would be our guide for the coming days.
This post covers 18th -20th November 2016