National Geographic Endeavour II
The sun was bright as we anchored off the coast of Española Island. Our first activity of the day was snorkeling. We got on the Zodiac and rode to Gardner Islet. The water was crystal-clear, inviting us to swim. We jumped in the refreshing sea to find ourselves accompanied by a group of juvenile sea lions. These lovely animals are very curious and decided to come play with us. They were getting so close; at one point, a guest saw them swimming just an inch away! We kept swimming near very big shoals of different species of fish. In the middle of the fish, our sea lion friends appeared once again. They swam in circles, attracted by us, and us to them, strange figures floating around. We came out of the water to spend some leisurely time on the sandy beach of Gardner Bay. The soft white sand was the perfect place to walk. The main attractions were the sea lions as they relaxed and stretched on the sand. It was an outstanding morning. National Geographic Endeavour II moved to our next place for exploration, Suarez Point. We watched waves breaking along the shoreline, a show so mesmerizing we could spend hours staring at it. We landed and prepared to begin our hike. Marine iguanas greeted us. The ones from Española are the most colorful of the marine iguanas. We walked through a colony of Nazca boobies; a few hatchlings and juveniles seemed very curious about our presence. Listening to the boobies whistle and honk as they arrived to their nests was like a melody. We heard a thunder-like sound in the distance and moved to check it out. It was the blowhole. With the strong waves crashing, it sounded louder and stronger than usual. The water blowing into the air created a stela, which made a beautiful rainbow appear and then disappear after a few seconds. We saw the waved albatross; this time of the year, they come to Española to breed. The courtship of these birds is very elegant. They dance as if they are starting a waltz, bowing to each other before moving their feet in such an odd way. They look so proper for marine birds on land. It is very cute when they rub their beaks together, almost like they are kissing. We observed some couples with an egg. The parents gave the impression of being proud. We came back onboard as the sun was about to set. The colors were incredible. It was just the first day of an extraordinary week to come.