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Rabida; Santiago
Viva Ecuador

Snail kite on our night canoe tripSnail kite on our night canoe trip (Stuart White)
After an opulent breakfast we Zodiaked along the shore of Rabida island, where we (nearly) rubbed elbows with blue-footed boobies, brown noddies, a striated heron and fur sea lions for an hour or so. Then we landed on Rabida's red sand beach and watched a pair of flamingos dozing in a lagoon and hiked the low hills among the specialized, soft-spined Opuntia that grow here.

During lunch the Coral cruised to the west side of Santiago and we put ashore at Puerto Egas, the site of an ill-fated salt mine. A short hike along the shore took us past fur sea lions, lots of marine iguanas and striated heron. As I photographed an iguana an inquisitive Galapagos flycatcher landed for a second on my lens. I don't know if I was more startled or delighted; anyway, I felt honored.

Later we snorkeled with lots of surgeonfish, clownfish and many others. Just down the beach from me as I emerged from the water a great blue heron posed in the afternoon sun against the dark volcanic rock.

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