Las Plazas & Santa Fe - Friday
Jun 26, 2009
|OMG!!! You could freeze meat in my cubicle of a cabin. I started last night in long pajamas, inside my silk sleeping bag, with a sheet & blanket over me. One by one I put socks on, robbed the blanket from the other bunk, and put on my fleece zipped all the way to my neck. When that still didn't help, I hooked my cabin door to the hall open with the prayer that some of the conditioned air pouring in would find its way on out. I know I dozed some, but mostly remember being AWAKE. I'm really tired today.
The daily routine begins with breakfast at 7am and a 7:45 excursion, so that we can then reposition the boat in time for lunch, snorkeling and another excursion.
After hearing my frigid saga at breakfast, I had very gracious offers of sleeping bags. Sarah & James were kind enough to let me borrow one of theirs for the rest of my stay.
If I hadn't been so paranoid about the luggage restriction, which I was well under (11.5kg out of 20kg allowed), then I would have packed my proper hiking boots. My Tevas have been OK, but sometimes a little more traction & protection of my whole foot would have been good on the lava rocks.
On our first landing today at South Plaza Island we saw lots of lizards, land & sea iguanas, as well as a rare hybrid one, pelicans, sea lions (they do stink, but I don't think they're as bad as penguin colonies), a blue footed boobie (there's a 10 year old somewhere deep inside me who still wants to titter/snicker every time the boobies come up), more crabs (did you know they shed their shells 4 times a year, and it takes a week for their new one to harden?), prickly pear trees - you get the gist.
I took 2 hours to reposition for the afternoon. A bunch of us were socializing in the lounge when I suddenly felt that one sofa not being used could be a fantastic nap spot. I was out like a light in minutes despite the heaving ship and public locale. At some point I rolled over and realized that the others had followed suit, making the lounge the official nap spot. Pretty funny. Wish I'd gotten a photo.
After lunch we had some down time, before our first official snorkel outing. I did panic a little when I first hit the water because they were hurrying us to get out of the dinghy and into the water, but I settled in much more quickly & confidently than on prior trips before. We saw a green turtle swimming under us, along sea lions, eagle rays and zillions of fish you divers have probably seen before, but I enjoyed it.
Some of the most fun was when the sea lions wanted to play with us. We were very cautious not to touch them because you don't want the big males to get jealous, but they were definitely mimics & have personalities a bit like over-sized puppies.
South Plaza is the southern part of a pair of islets, which are a few hundred metres apart. It is home to marine and land iguanas, as well as swallow-tailed gulls, frigate birds, shearwaters, brown pelicans, blue-footed and masked boobies. Next stop is Santa Fe Island. If we are lucky, we may see the Santa Fe land iguana, found nowhere else on the other islands. Here we walk through the amazing forest of prickly pear and there are plenty of iguanas to be seen. Santa Fe is also a great place for snorkelling. The waters of the cove are a radiant green, and here we can see sea turtles gracefully swimming by and the sea lion pups we meet are most inquisitive. Sea lions are all over the Galapagos, but they are something we will never tire of seeing!