Dec 29, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II
Today we woke up anchored next to the spectacular island of Española, one of the oldest of the archipelago. This is home to a colony of Galapagos sea lions and a number of endemic species, particular only to this island. Early morning was dedicated to finding the right snorkeling mask and equipment for our upcoming adventures in the water, and after that, off we went in the Zodiacs to the beach. From the distance we could see a bunch of rocks. However, upon approaching we realized that the rocks were actually resting sea lions! This is where we get to practice our snorkeling skills.
Later on we tried deep-water snorkeling, where schools of razor surgeonfish, blue and gold snappers, king angelfish and sergeant majors showed us the way along a wall covered with sponges, corals, hydroids, sea stars. We even spotted our first blue-footed booby and got to swim into a cave!
Back on board, lunch awaited—an Andean feast! Juan Sebastian, our hotel manager, explained the 300 different kinds of potatoes we have in Ecuador, and we tasted seco de pollo, a traditional dish from this land.
After lunch, all the kids onboard gathered to start their journals to become National Geographic Global Explorers, and for adults, our photo instructor, Socrates, gave us an introductory lesson on photography.
The afternoon walk was the absolute highlight of the day. Albatrosses soared above us, and we even got to see a juvenile jumping off the cliff, looking a bit insecure, letting us know it was one of the first times he had tried it. Male blue-footed boobies competing over females, Galapagos hawks, Nazca boobies with chicks, swallow-tailed gulls, racer snakes, hundreds of marine iguanas, Española mockingbirds, Galapagos doves. It was just like walking in an Attenborough documentary, everywhere you look, life was happening around us.
Back on the ship, we met in the lounge and learned from our naturalists about finches and tomorrows program before enjoying a delicious dinner! What a great day, and tomorrow another beautiful adventure awaits.
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