This was a day for animals. After a wet landing, we walked a short distance to a brackish lake where we saw flamingos hoovering the sand flats for shrimp-like creatures. They must have been in good supply, because the flamingos’ plumage was a lovely shade of pink. Their color is strongly influenced by what they eat. A teen-age bird wandered off from the crowd, striding with a sense of purpose to nowhere in particular. He seemed not to understand that he had to be in the water to find things to eat.
On the beach we saw a booby mom with bright blue feet and her fuzzy child who had attempted to fly before it was time and suffered a bright red gash on its shoulder, which clearly was uncomfortable. Nearby a teen-age booby was vigorously trying to get some regurgitated food out of its mother’s mouth. It was clear that she thought it was time for him to go it alone and struggled to get away from him.
They shared the beach with sea lions. Most of them were young and playful. There too, one of them was looking for someone to give them a shot of milk. None of the older animals seemed interested in making a donation. It’s hard to distinguish who belongs to who with these sociable creatures.
Then we headed back to the boat to don our wetsuits and revisit the beach from below the water. Even though we are on the Equator, the water here is icy cold since the current comes north from Antarctica. The wet suits took the edge off the cold, but if I wasn’t so busy enjoying the undersea view, the cold could have bothered me more. As I sat in the shallow water putting on my flippers, a big male sea lion thrust himself up from the water and shouted into my face. It was a bit scary. I waved my remaining flipper and eventually he moved on to scare someone else.
We swam alongside two huge green sea turtles and the sea lions followed, just in case we would be fun to play with. You have poor peripheral vision when you are wearing a diving mask, so, it was shock to have a big, brown furry body suddenly appear right next to you. We swam through schools of fish, glimmering in the diffracted light. The purpose of today’s snorkel was to verify that we were comfortable in the water and with our equipment. Can’t wait to go back.
After a quick shower we were back on the dinghies, motoring to a small cove loaded with birds and sea lions. Again, the sea lions thought we were there for their amusement and they cavorted around us and played games in the water with our tow ropes. I could watch them for hours.
In the afternoon we motored to a beach which had a viewing tower. The view was worth the climb. Nearby we stopped at the barrel post office. This “post office” has been in existence since the late 18th century. Whalers and other sailors would often be away from home in this area for as long as five years. They would leave letters in the barrel and other sailors who stopped by, would pick them up and mail them when they were on their way home. There were post cards from literally all over the world to choose from. Our friend Susan found one that was addressed to a home ten miles away and plans to deliver it in person.
Every time we get back onboard, we are met by a tray full of freshly prepared fruit juices and some kinds of snack. This could be easy to get used to. The food has been tasty and healthy.