Weather: Partly cloudy to sunny with light wind
Air Temperature: 25.9C
Wind speed 25.9km/h North westerly
Pressure 1009 hPa
This morning we could all sleep in as we had a morning at sea on our way to the Isla del Plata, an island off the coast of Ecuador. As with all sea days or half sea days, the activities are more cerebral and two lectures were scheduled for the morning. I went up to our photographer Lu’s lecture on tips and tricks for better pictures. I have listened to many lectures by the onboard photographers, and I really enjoyed her presentation as it recapped important aspects and answered questions we always wanted to know and never wanted to ask. Lu also touched on how to tell stories with your camera, which is such a useful concept, and not one that is often talked about in our photographers’ presentations.
Patricia (our ornithologist) gave a lecture 15 minutes later on the seabirds of the Pacific. Her lecture started with the most basic biology of seabirds and some of the conservation issues such as longline fishing, which affects seabird numbers. She then went on to some of the seabirds that we will see on this voyage and entertained everyone with her demonstration of the Blue Footed Booby’s courtship dance, which we were going to see later today.
After a quick lunch, we disembarked into local boats, which made our Zodiac operations look so easy. Once ashore at Isla Del Plata, we waited until the guests came ashore and each boat with 15 guests was allocated a guide and one of the expedition staff. I took the last group of long walkers. We were going to be out for about 2 and a half hours doing a guided walk around the island. What a wonderful walk it was! The vegetation was very different from what we have become used to, as there were no tropical rainforests only dry scrubland. The island is very mountainous and part of our walk included climbing 200 steps to get to the top, but our guide was excellent and he stopped regularly to give guests a chance to catch their breaths and listen to some interesting interpretation. When we reached the top we were treated to a sight of a nesting Blue-Footed Booby close to the path. What comical yet beautiful birds, as we walked down the hill on the other side we saw plenty more nesting Boobies no more than a metre from the path. How very special! Our guide was an expert birder and he picked out a short tailed woodstar, a tiny hummingbird, which he managed to get his scope on for everyone to have a close look. It was magnificent, just as magnificent as the Magnificent Frigate birds that we watched harassing a Booby trying to illicit food from it. Closer to the coast on the other side of the island we saw a flock of Red billed tropicbirds doing an aerial display just for us.
After spending a bit of time at the coastline we had to start heading back to our lookout point and the 200 descending stairs to get back to the landing site. It wasn’t difficult and on our return we were met with the most delicious local pineapples and watermelon and homemade banana bread with some drinks to quench our thirst.
Once back on our little ship we had a short break to get neat and tidy again before going up to The Theatre for a recap of the day’s activities and a briefing for tomorrow. Lu also gave us a taste of what she has been working on by showing us the edited video from Manuel Antonio Park and the Orchid House. What wonderful memories.