Espanola Island & Gardner BayJuly 1 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F
It turns out that if the time on your phone doesn't change correctly and, even if you remind yourself before you go to bed that that is the case, you are still likely to wake up at the wrong time! Lucky for me, this was an hour earlier than I intended. So, up at 5:45 for me after a night of pretty impressive rocking (of the boat variety!) I went up to the sun deck and found a fellow passenger to chat with and then went to the lounge for coffee and a snack. They always have food out in the lounge - fruit, cakes, crackers /cheese, and a wonderful coffee machine! Got a chance to get to know our program coordinator (lead naturalist) Gabby who was there as well. I went to a 1/2 hour 7am stretch class on the sun deck with one other guest and it was a really nice class - my speed - short, not strenuous and relaxing!
Breakfast at 8:30am with Ken and the kids and then off to get on our wetsuits and grab snorkeling equipment. We took zodiac's to a deep area near the island and our group jumped off. It was COLD! 70.5 degrees. My wetsuit definitely helped. Cooper and Addey only have shorties so definitely colder for them. They did great though. We got to see angel fish, sea urchins, sea stars and, best of all, got to snorkel right around playful sea lions.
We stopped back at the ship to drop off the snorkel gear and headed back to Espanola Island (also known as Hood Island) to enjoy an incredible beach/coastline. The sand was fine, the water incredibly teal and the sea lions adorable. We only had about 30 minutes to enjoy and wish we had alot more!
At 12 we were back on the boat for lunch (an Ecuadorian buffet). All the young explorers on the boat (aka kids) got a tour of the bridge after lunch and then the resident photographer /naturalist gave a talk, to anyone interested, on photo composition - good for Jace.
The boat was quite rocky in the afternoon which caused Jace and I to have very mild queasiness, but this quickly resolved with an afternoon excursion to the other side of the island at Punta Suarez. We had a near 2 mile hike over very rocky terrain but the views were stunning and we saw great stuff - brown pelicans, many marine iguanas (ugly things!), lava lizards, sea lions (of course), Galapagos doves, mockingbirds, blue footed boobies and, our favorite, the wave albatross now in mating season and performing their courtship dance.
Per national park restrictions, nobody is allowed on the islands after 6pm so back to the boat we went (though I could have spent many more hours there taking pictures).
We had a pre-dinner drink/appetizer with the guests in the lounge and listened to tomorrow's agenda. Dinner tonight was with a couple from Indiana. Jace and Cooper have made fast friends with a boy from Phoenix and Addey sat with a bunch of kids and was in her element!
One cute thing from today: at lunch, the bartender found us in dining room and asked if Addey was ours. When we said yes, he said 'congratulations, she is wonderful' Apparently, she went up to the 'bar' to get a soda and he said 'how are you? '. She replied :'estoy feliz y tu?' he said 'you speak spanish??? And of course, she replied' un poquito'. He was very impressed! We are encouraging them to try speaking Spanish whenever they can. Apparently, she listened. 😊
Now 10pm and off to a very swaying sleep...Read more