Day 5 |
Oct 17, 2010

Isla de la Plata, Ecuador

By Chris Srigley, General Naturalist

Weather: Scattered clouds

With a morning at sea to start our day, I grabbed my camera and binoculars before heading onto the outer decks to enjoy the early morning sun and to see what I may be able to see upon the ocean.

Quickly I was informed about a Humpback Whale that had been spotted by two of our guests shortly before my arrival on the outer decks. Soon masked and red-footed boobies began to appear around us.

Shortly thereafter it was time to join our Archeologist, Clare Allum The Theatre for her talk ‘Privateers, Scoundrels and Thieves’. An intriguing look into the early days of the western shores of South America, more specifically the 1500s. The time of the Spanish plundering of Aztec gold and the privateers and pirate convoys that sought to loot those Spanish treasures.

Between lectures, several guest joined me on the outer decks in search of marine and avian life. Before long we were rewarded, as several of us were able to spot the Waved Albatross. At 7 – 8 feet in wingspan this Albatross that mainly breeds in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador is a frequent visitor to Isla de la Plata, our afternoon’s destination.

With this wonderful sighting it was time again to return indoors and join Juan Carlos Restrepo, our onboard geologist, for his talk ‘Earth, What Lies Below’. A geological ‘101’ Juan would take us through the history of earth’s formation, the terminology associated with this and the rock types we encounter today. Always able to convey a difficult to understand topic in an understandable way, Juan’s lecture was well attended and well received.

Before our day’s activities could truly begin there was a matter to be taken care of. A call from Staff Captain Mika to our Expedition Leader Robin was made. Some long-line fishing gear had been found trailing from the ship and Robin was needed to check it out.

Along with Robin Aiello, Robin donned snorkel gear before jumping from a Zodiac along side the Prince Albert II to investigate the situation. Quickly it was determined the stabilizing fins would need to be deployed. Once this had happened, Robin cut the line from around the portside fin and removed a hook that had been embedded into its steel.

Picking up as though nothing had occurred, our afternoon’s operations began as local Ecuadorian boats shuttled our guests to the shores of Isla de la Plata. As each boat arrived, our disembarking guests were separated into groups that had chosen either a long or short walk before they joined local guides along with the expedition staff for various hikes on the island.

During our various hikes, guests were able to see blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, collared warbling-finch and the endemic short-tailed woodstar before returning to the rangers’ station for some fresh fruit and refreshments.

Once back on board there was just enough time for a short Recap & Briefing before dinner was served in The Restaurant ounce again.

All in all it had been another wonderful day on board with great experiences and amazing sightings. Tomorrow could only bring more of the same!