Darwin Station, kayaking, Tortuga Bay
We got our first look at a land iguana, a fine golden-colored specimen about four feet long.
Our first attempt to find the Pinta Island tortoise ''Lonesome George'' ( the world's most famous reptile) was unsuccessful. The last surviving individual of his species, he was brought to the Darwin Station in hopes he would mate with a related species and avoid extinction, but to date he has been uninterested. We did see one of the females he shares his compound with.
A washed out road prevented our planned mid-morning activity (hiking to a volcano) so we switched to kayaking mode. We paddled around a quiet lagoon that serves as a cattle egret nesting area and explored ''the cracks'' a narrow passage between lava cliffs where we saw brown noddies, striated herons, a great blue heron, and blue-footed boobies. A short hike took us to Playa Los Perros, a boulder-strewn beach covered with marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. These brilliant crustaceans are irresistible to a photographer, their scarlet color striking against the wet, black lava rock they often haunt. Named for their nimble scurrying, they scuttle on the very tips of their eight legs, like a ballet dancer ''en pointe''.
After lunch at La Garrapata we hiked the three miles to Tortuga Bay, which offers white coral sand, red mangroves, and a tidal flat with lots of shore birds. Just as we started back to town the rain started and we walked 45 minutes in the rain back to the hotel. Since I was already wet I took a dip in the Hotel Fernandina pool before supper.