Day 6 - October 17, 2013 - Española Island
By Xavier Suarez, Naturalist
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Air Temperature: 21ºC
Pressure: 951 hPa
Wind: 5 knots
Today I was woken up by the sound of the waves crashing into the coast of Gardner Bay, northern side of Española Island. This island is the oldest one in the Galapagos archipelago and hosts a great number of native and endemic species.
After a delicious breakfast that included some eggs and fruits, I got my binoculars and camera in a plastic bag for a wet landing. Gardner Bay was recently chosen as one of the 25 best beaches in the world. It was clear why it won that nomination. The whole beach was covered with dozens of Galapagos sea lions and Española Mockingbirds, who were sticking their nose into the bags of some guests probably looking for some fresh water to quench their thirst. I had a very pleasant walk on a fine-grained sandy beach that gave me the feeling of having a foot massage. One of the highlights of the morning excursion was definitely the presence of baby sea lions. It’s breeding season and I had the opportunity to see several newborns.
Later on, there was time for water activities, which included: swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.
After a busy morning at Gardner Bay, the chef delighted us with great food he had prepared. After lunch, all guests atended a lecture given by one member of the expedition team.
The afternoon excursion brought us to an area known as Punta Suarez. This time I had to wear my best walking shoes due to the difficulty of the trail. It was amazing to see all different creatures from the zodiac before the dry landing. Sea lions, finches, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, sally light-foot crabs, lava lizards and many others were so active that it seemed they had been trained to welcome visitors to the island.
During the walk, I had the opportunity to see the Waved Albatross, a species of bird considered to be endemic to Española Island. It was great to see the way they were running to the cliff to be lifted up by the strong air currents. What was really even more impressive was to have the chance to see albatrosses performing the mating ritual. Near the Albatross colony, there was a blowhole, which is a geological feature where water from the ocean is pushed through a hole at the surface producing an immense splash of water delighting the audience.
After walking for almost 3 hours, the day was getting dark and a bit chilly. It was time to get back to Silver Galapagos. Española Island is certainly one of my favorite islands in the whole Galapagos.
The day ended up with an informative briefing, a delicious dinner and looking forward to starting another day in paradise.
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