|Today started early at 8 a.m. so that we could get everything in our only real day at Isabella. We had arranged for breakfast at The Oasis, and our cook was “Jenny.” The population is so small on Isabella that you have to arrange in advance to have your meals prepared. Jenny fixed all three of our meals today. Breakfast was a plate of fresh fruit, a glass of fresh pineapple juice, coffee, eggs and toast with papaya/pineapple jam. Lunch was fish, rice, beans, french fries and a tomato/onion/pepper salad. Dinner started with a cerviche (soup) that was heavy on the shrimp and light on the vegetables, followed by a plate of pork, rice, beans and french fries and desert was Ecuadorian Flan which is just like the flan you are used to with a carmel/orange glaze.
We left breakfast and headed out to see the flamingos. There was supposed to be a population of flamingos on the island. Unfortunately, we only found one. There has been an increase of dogs on the island and they apparently like to chase the flamingos. The lady that lives right by the marsh where they live says that this one flamingo is the only one left.
Next it was off to see the turtles, but first we had to take a detour past the iguana house. This house is right on the beach and owned by a woman from Michigan. She has over 100 iguanas that live outside her house and they were all out sunning themselves when we came by.
Next we went down the winding path to see the turtles. All 25 islands are monitored by the National Park system but the turtle preserve is set up on Isabella. We got a tour from one of the marshals and was able to talk to the veterinarian that has been working for 16 years to preserve all the species of turtles that are represented on the islands. They have an active breeding plan and one really interesting fact is that the sex of a turtle is actually determined based upon the temperature that the egg is incubated, 27 degrees C for a girl, 30 degrees C for a boy.
Now we run to make it to the boat who is going to take us around the islands ($12 per person). As usual, we are late, but Chalo quickly cajols the capitano out of being irritated and off we go. I will let the pictures describe the day, but it was amazing. It included sea turtles, massive iguanas, penguinos, blue footed boobies (I swear), seals and most importantly, one really cute baby seal that kissed my foot!
I bailed on the snorkeling because I was already too sunburned, but everyone else went in. Gary swam with a turtle, was bumped by a seal and got to swim with the sharks. Finally we took the entire sunburned crew home for showers and well deserved naps.