Sandy – I’ve had limited conversations with some of our 10 crew members. None spoke English well, all are native to Galapagos, and none has ever been to the USA. Our guide, Samuel Quiroz, was extremely nice, well-educated and well-informed. He had a reasonable answer for every question and was attentive to our every need. We really appreciated his effort on our behalf. Today we had a wet landing on Floreana Island. Samuel identified a green, a pencil, and a poisonous sea urchin, along with several shells. Our hike was easy and we headed first to a hyper-saline lagoon, then on to another beach that is a nesting ground for sea turtles (Tortuga Marina). Sea turtles climb away from the beach to softer sand, dig a crater about 3-feet wide at the top, and back into the bottom to deposit their eggs. The eggs are not incubated and when they hatch, it is important for the babies to get to the water fast. All kinds of wildlife think they're tasty. This is a lush island with beautiful landscapes. Back on the Millennium we cruised to Champions Islet for snorkeling from the Zodiac, expecting to see white-tipped sharks. None were found. Then we left to Post Office Bay for more snorkeling. It was a curious place. Ever since 1735 there has been a barrel here in which you can put mail (no postage) with the hope that someone will find it and deliver it to someone near where they themselves live. Knowing two people from my apartment complex who were here in April and May of this year, I hoped to bring a letter to them. However, either they didn't participate or it was collected already. You could wait until you're back in your home country, add postage and mail your letter, but it is much preferred that it be hand delivered. This was our last full day. Estoy triste. I had to pack.
Leif – This morning's wet landing was a short and worthwhile trip. On the beach we found many species of washed-up coral that Samuel identified individually. Later we walked onto a “sea turtle” beach that had no turtles on it, but we did find sea turtle nests with small tracks leading out of the nests to the ocean. Once we were on the Millennium we set out for Champions Islet where there was to be great snorkeling. An hour later we suited up for our snorkeling adventure and headed off in the Zodiac. The variety and abundance of marine life was astounding. It was by far the best snorkeling I had done during my stay on the Galapagos Islands. I saw many different schools of fish, many sea urchins and coral as well as a few sea lions. The sea lions fearlessly circled around us even touching us with their bodies. Had the water not been so cold I could have spent the rest of the day in this diverse water paradise. After an hour, we climbed back on the Zodiac and headed for a hot meal! Following lunch, we went to Post Office Bay where we had a chance to drop off postcards. Then we had time to relax on the white beach. After we were aboard the cruise ship, we set our course toward Santa Cruz and our journey home.