We were up at 5:30 am and in the pangas by 6 for a tour of the mangroves of Black Turtle cove. It was a peaceful, quite setting with no sounds but birds, the odd sea lions and grunts from turtles. Motors shut off, Santiago quietly paddled around and we got to witness several sets of sea turtles mating. They don't take as long as the sea turtles and it's fascinating to watch. Some got to see white tipped sharks close to the surface but I missed it.
Back on the Daphne we had our last breakfast together and finished packing. That week sure went quickly! Panga to shore, hop on a bus, wait for a plane then land in Guayaquil. I've now been there 3 times and never left a plane. In Quito getting our luggage was a shmoz and we finally arrived at the Hilton at around 4:30 pm. This is our last kick at luxury for a while so we enjoyed the free cocktail together and hugged each other good bye.
Despite the big cushy bed with lots of pillows I didn't sleep well. Figures. Give me a hard bunk on a swaying boat and I sleep like a rock but in a nice bed? Sheesh. I swear I felt an earthquake but nobody else did. Kenneth admitted this morning that his bed was swaying too so maybe we just need to get our land legs back.
We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with several of the people we'd cruised with and did lots of hugging. It's funny checking out of the Hilton with backpacks loaded and ready. The concierge just doesn't know what to do with that. They're used to suits and big suitcases. One fellow offered us a cab but we chose to walk and off we went to get only slightly lost. Finally I showed a random man the address and he pointed us in the right direction and we realized we'd walked past the hotel. We checked in and were sitting in the courtyard checking email when Sue approached us. She's from Ajax and on the tour as well. We spent the next few hours with her walking through old town, then came back for the meeting with our new group. We're the only the Canadians. We met Cindy from England and decided to go for dinner together. There's an election on Sunday and the town is supposed to be alcohol free until it's finished. Everyone votes. There's a fine for NOT voting. Interesting.
Dinner at the Fried Banana was very nice. They all had steak. I had rice and shrimp. We all had a drink and shared desert and the total bill was $45 which included tax and tip. Not bad.
The walk back was interesting as we passed through party central in downtown Mariscal where there was obviously alcohol being served.
Off to Tena tomorrow and a 6 hour ride on a public bus. Fun stuff!