Our last day in Galápagos was a picture perfect day! Calm turquoise seas, a slight morning breeze and a clear cloudless sky. We had a slightly lazy start with a later breakfast and then three Zodiacs with guests headed to Tortuga Islet for snorkeling. Conditions were perfect: we had marvellous visibility and the colorful reef fish were plentiful. We swam around the islet and were delighted to spot a white-tipped reef shark.We took the Zodiacs into Gardner beach.
We had the mile long, dazzling white sand beach to ourselves…actually, we shared it with many sea lions. Both we humans and the pinnipeds spent the morning relaxing on the sand or rolling in the surf. As the late morning temperatures began to rise, we returned to our air-conditioned ship for lunch and a siesta.
In the afternoon we disembarked on a small cement dock and followed a trail that looped through the breeding grounds of the endemic waved albatross. We were thrilled to find a pair of these large and attractive seabirds doing their courtship dance, and we found the first albatross egg of the year. At the cliff’s edge we finally found a refreshing breeze. The naturalists explained that this is the take off point for the heavy albatross; they need the rising wind off the cliff to become airborne.
We hiked inland along a boulder strewn trail through a huge nesting colony of blue-footed boobies. Many of the males were whistling and lifting their brilliant blue feet in hopes of catching the eye of a mate. The colony of Nazca boobies inhabit the coast since they, like the albatross, need the help of a stiff breeze to take flight. We observed a pair of Galápagos hawks, and mocking birds and the large lava lizards that are endemic to Española.
Our final day was just as interesting and exhilarating as the rest of the week had been. We could never have guessed that each island and every site we visited, would be so different. Though the week has gone by in a flash, we have seen and experienced so much! The memories of this week’s magical voyage will stay with us forever.