Monday, December 5, 2011

Espanola Island

28 Nov 2011

Following an overnight cruise, we woke up next to Punta Suarez on Espanola Island. I say woke up, but I suspect that many people didn't sleep well on the first overnight cruise.  No matter, we survived, which is as well as we have several more nights of cruising ahead of us.

Our cabin was one of two double-bedded cabins on the boat and was located on the starboard side of the boat on the main deck.  The windows above the deck looked out to the bow of the boat.  The side windows looked onto the outside passage-way running along the side of boat.  As well as a double bed, we had a small cupboard, some drawers under the bed and a small shower-room with loo and washbasin in it.  Due to the size of the boat, one side of the bed was against a wall (my side of the bed!).

There were 4 cabins, two doubles and two twins, on this deck as well as the dining room and lounge area. Right at the stern, there was an open fantail deck which we used for getting on and off dinghys.  On the deck above, were a further four twin-bed cabins, the bridge and a covered sun deck at the stern.  Above this, was an open sun deck with loungers and the all-important washing-line!  Some days our boat looked a bit like a floating laundry.

Waved-Albatross Chick - a handsome little critter! 

After breakfast, we boarded our dinghy and headed for Punta Suarez on Espanola Island, one of the most southerly of the islands we will visit.  Our walk on island included seeing myriads of marina Iguanas, Nazca Boobies, Sea-lions, Waved Albatrosses, Espanola Mockingbirds, and several Galapagos Hawks.  The Waved Albatrosses only nest on this island and it is the end of the breeding season, so it was wonderful to see them and their horribly ugly babies.  We also saw a couple of adults going through the courtship rituals, but they won't mate this year as they are due to leave for the ocean-wandering life-style next month.

Adult Waved-Albatross

The photographers amongst us, have at last moved on from 'snapping' every cute baby bird/crab/seal immediately they step on shore and we are all getting a little blase about stepping over and around birds/crabs/iguanas that have absolutely no fear of humans.

Male Marine Iguana - or a Doctor Who character

Back on board the ship, lunch was served as we cruised to Gardiner Bay, then after time for lunch to digest, it was across to the beach for some snorkelling.  We had the thrill of snorkelling with Sea-Lions, although it is a little unnerving to see a grey shape heading toward you underwater.  They were just curious and never really got close to us.  We also saw quite a lot a large Rays as well.

Galapagos Mockingbird about to take up snorkelling

Back on ship we relaxed on deck until dinnertime.  Following dinner most people went to bed fairly early to catch up with sleep, and to attempt to get to sleep before we started moving again.

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