Posted by: tim ellis | December 31, 2008

Galapagos – Friday 11th July 2008 (Espanola)

We were right, breakfast is at 7, and Franklin briefs us for the day. We land this morning at Gardeners Bay. A wet landing on to a sandy beach, which we are free to explore, followed by a snorkel trip around a large rocky outcrop before returning to the ship for a short sail around to Punta Suarez, where we will spend the afternoon walking on a rocky path around a cliff top.
The ship hires out wetsuits, flippers and masks, which we collect (those of us without our own) and try on before leaving. The beach is beautiful white sand that does not get too hot to walk on, and is quite busy with sea-lions, mocking birds and Galapagos tourists! (including Rich and Laurie – we suspect this will be a recurring theme!) . I return to our Cachalote Base Camp after walking up the beach, and realise there are some active lava lizards close to hand. One lizard seems particularly unafraid, and at one stage I think she is going to climb my leg!

Diving for the photo...

The snorkelling (my first!) is quite an experience, the water is clear and the visibility good (even without my glasses). We see several different fishes, including a sting ray, and some shark hiding in a cave. Also a sea-lion on the far side of the rock. I am also quite pleased with the results of my underwater photography, although some shots are indistinguishable blue, but some come out quite well, especially considering for the most part I couldn’t really see the LCD screen properly (if at all).

Galapagos Hawk

The animal encounters start early in the afternoon when we pass a marine turtle on the way to the dock, where there is the usual complement of crabs, iguana and sea-lions waiting. We soon find more turtles in the next bay, followed by a variety of bird life, Galapagos doves, Galapagos hawks (which treat us to a mating display), wave albatross (one of whom has decided to set up a nest right in the middle of the path), and nazca and blue-footed boobies. There is also a spectacular blowhole which sends jets of water rocketing skywards as the waves rush in.

Franklin briefs us on tomorrows itinerary straight after dinner tonight, then we set sail almost straight away for the 4 ½ hour trip to Floreana.

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