We all woke up at 5 AM. I can tell you that it was rough last night. I woke up several times and all my equipment that is scattered all around my cabin was thrown all over. Still not nearly as bad as the “Drake”, but bad for most of us.
We had breakfast at 5:30 and then it was off on our Pangas to explore Espanola Island. The Pangas were able to make a dry landing on some lava rock out growth. This hike will take four hors over lava rocks most of the time. We started early since the heat and humidity goes way up as the day progresses. Don’t forget, we are almost on the equator. The oldest person on our trip is eight five years old and I am the second oldest at seventy. We were offered walking sticks and he took two. I decided not to use one. Gerry, the oldest, kept on falling over the rocks and crevices and evenly he was helped and a crew member came to meet us to help him. The hike was mostly uphill over jagged lava rocks. You had to constantly look down to navigate the rocks and avoid twisting your ankles or falling. I have been to some places where I have sweat an enormous amount and almost become dehydrated and this hike ranks up there with some of the hardest and most strenuous. My shirt and shorts became totally drenched and my fingers were dripping sweat on my camera and lens. We finally reached a clearing where there were lots of albatrosses. They come to Espanola Island to breed and start coming here from April and leave in the late fall. They had paired up and started their mating rituals. Albatrosses have only one mate for life. The female lays one egg a season. The eggs are large. We saw some eggs left over from last season which did not hatch. It was fascinating watching the albatrosses go through their matting ritual. I took some great images of this ritual of nature.
We then left the albatrosses and kept on walking up over the rocks. We finally reached a cliff overlooking a bay. There was a large blow hole that was spouting water up under one of the cliffs. The mist and waves created quite a beautiful and different image. Espanola is alsop home to another type of marine iguana. This marine iguana is the pink marine iguana. They have more color than the other iguanas and are only unique to Espanola. I have become very fond of marine iguanas. They are so different and photogenic.
We started to hike on the cliff and took a different route back to the Pangas. Eventually we started a descent and arrived at a flat rocky area that was inhabited by blue footed boobies. I finally had my wish. There are approximately one thousand pair of these unique birds left and I have seen them. Don’t forget “When was the last time you saw something for the first time?” Priceless. The female lays three eggs and they do not mate for life. They are very precious and their feet and beaks are amazing. Took lots of pictures of these birds knowing that in all likelihood this will be my only time to see them and how fortunate I am in seeing them for myself and being given the opportunity to show them to others as I saw them.
I started to really feel the heat and humidity. Lisa gave me a large electrolyte pill that i crushed in my water bottle. Hopefully this will do the trick. We kept on walking over rocks in this intense heat. My mind started to think about a cold shower and getting out of these sweat filled clothes.
We finally reached the end of our hike. Another group, from a different yacht, were starting their hike. I could not imagine how they would survive.
At 10:30 we arrived back at the yacht and my dream came true. Stood under a cold shower and thought of what I had seen. I would do it all over again if I could.
After lunch I worked on my pictures. I download them at every opportunity onto two SSD hard drives. I have become a person who keeps lots of backups. Hopefully, I will never use them.
At 2:30 we boarded the Pangas for a trip to Gardner Bay. This is a white crushed coral beach and was not hot at all. No sand. Some of us went snorkeling. I did not since I could not imagine it being better than the snorkeling yesterday where we played with the sea lions. Sea lions dotted the beach . Most of them were sleeping and got up for an occasional yawn and stretch. They were behaving like we were not there.
Tonight is our farewell dinner and cocktail party.
Tomorrow morning we have our last Panga ride and then its to the airport and back tp Guayaquil.
Will wrap up this incredible trip tomorrow night