Sunday, January 13, 2019
The day started with a review of the rules of snorkeling – a good reminder since it’s been a few years since we’ve snorkeled. Then we were fitted with wet suits, flippers and masks. We had also been told to bring rash guards to protect us from the sun and from sea jellies (correct term for jellyfish here).
We are anchored near Española, one the oldest of the islands, estimated at 4.5 million years. It is slowly being reclaimed by the sea. The island is unoccupied by humans, but is home to marine iguanas and sea lions. We went to Gardner Bay to try out our snorkeling skills, while more experienced snorkelers went to deeper waters. Although Mark could have gone with that group, he stayed with me.
The water in Gardner Bay is quite warm, in the 70’s. We stayed near shore for our practice session, where high waves churned the water, making it difficult to see anything but the floaters in my eyes. Tomorrow, we can start snorkeling in earnest.
Lindblad/National Geographic offers several classes during the week. Today’s was on photography, so I went hoping to pick up a few pointers. I’m a rank amateur, I don’t have heavy, bulky equipment, I just have a passion to photograph the beauty around me.
Later in the afternoon, we returned to the island, at Punta Suarez, for a nice long hike. We engaged in boulder hopping most of the way, with the trail going through shrubbery and along the shore, to a cliff edge where many seabirds were soaring on the wind. There are lots of sea lions here (many females come here to give birth), along with crabs and marine iguanas. One sea lion was in labor, she was very uncomfortable and moaning in pain. We thought she might deliver before we returned from our walk but she wasn’t so lucky. By the end of our walk, she had moved to shallow water, but was still in pain.
Among the many birds were a few blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies with eggs and hatchlings, some young wave albatross and the Espanola mockingbird. The mature albatross lay their eggs near a cliff. These large birds need to jump off a cliff to get enough lift to fly. Nazca young will play dead if they feel threatened.