- 1248 days ago
Leif – After the previous early morning climb, I welcomed the delicious “late” breakfast in the relaxing dining area. We departed on the Zodiac at 8 o'clock for a dry landing, and a 1-km hike on South Plazas Island. On the shore where we disembarked I saw huge cactus trees, land iguanas and swallow-tail gulls. Two of these gulls were picking parasites from each others' feathers. The land iguanas posed as still as rock statues for our group to take pictures within 2 feet from them. This small island is inhabited with numerous species from sea lions to crabs to small and speedy lava lizards. The terrain is quite desolate and lacks vegetation. Only cacti, small ground hugging shrubs and lava rock cover the island. A short hike brought us to the highest point on the island. On the other side of this area was a sheer vertical face of rock that stood against merciless waves below. Literally hundreds of birds flew together in a circular pattern around the crashing waves searching for food. We were fortunate enough to spot the uncommon red-billed tropic bird. Our luck held as we continued along the rocky path adjacent to the cliff edge. Soon our guide, Samuel, spotted a swallow-tail gull chick guarded on either side by its parents. The rest of our hike down to the dock was pleasant, yet uneventful. We sped back to the Millennium for lunch, a break and a cruise to Santa Fe Island where we snorkeled from the Zodiac. Although the majority of this snorkeling expedition was less fruitful then previous trips, it was still nice to swim with the abundant marine life. The most exciting sight was the numerous sea lions playfully flipping and twisting through the aqua, clear water. I video-taped their blissful behavior with my Pentax underwater camera, careful not to drop it to the ocean floor. On our next trip onto the beach we advanced farther onto the island via a narrow rock-strewn path. We saw land iguanas, lava lizards, finches, two sea lion skulls, giant cacti and a wide spectrum of colored fungi and algae. Returning to the Millennium, all the passengers feasted on a delicious dinner of chicken, grilled tuna, shrimp, rice, beans, vegetables and sliced fruit. This meal honored 4 passengers who were leaving from the San Cristobal airport the next day.