Sandy – Having cruised all night, we awoke to an exciting, exhilarating day. We went to a beach on Rabida for hiking and viewing the wildlife. The rocks and beach sand were an iron-rich red. Next, after donning wetsuit and gear, we snorkeled in the beautiful, green Pacific Ocean. The water temperature was in the high 60s (Fahrenheit). I have snorkeled before, but not with flippers, which took some getting used to. Rabida has a large sea lion population, as do many of the islands. It was a beautiful place. The best find was a large, gorgeous bump-head parrot fish, which was drawn to my colorful swim fins and kept swimming around my legs. Bright-red Sally Lightfoot crabs were all over the beach, as were marine iguanas. We saw large-beaked, medium-beaked, and small-beaked ground finches, doves, and lava lizards. In the afternoon we had a strenuous hike on Sombrero Chino, an island near Rabida. Saw the most beautiful sea lion pup with his mother, later nursing. His cry was like a sheep's bleat. We saw frigates, Galapagos penguins, a Nazca (masked) booby (diving sea bird), and striated heron. Leif snorkeled but I did not. My leg hurt and I went to bed early because the next day we would start at 6 AM to hike to the top of a volcanic cone.
Leif – My Grandmother and I woke up early to rent our wetsuits. After getting our wetsuits, flippers and snorkels we went to the dining area for breakfast. As usual, the food was exquisite and Teo, our bartender/waiter, provided excellent service even with a language barrier between us. Teo hardly speaks any English, so communicating is fairly difficult. After this wonderful breakfast we prepared ourselves for a hike and snorkeling adventure on Rabida, the island we had sailed to overnight. The short mile-long hike provided beautiful views of the island we were on as well as surrounding ones. We also saw an abundant amount of wildlife: finches, other birds, crabs, seals, iguanas, lava lizards and spiders. After this hike we used our snorkeling gear to explore the underwater world surrounding the coast. I saw, and took pictures of a vast array of ocean life as well as a great blue heron searching for a meal. This was my first snorkeling experience in ocean water and it took me a while to get used to it. We snorkeled for 1 ½ hours. We boarded the Zodiac, a small raft used to travel from the cruise ship to land and back again, and headed back to the Millennium for lunch. After a hearty lunch and a 2-hour break, we left our cruise ship to go on another wet-landing expedition. This three o'clock journey brought us to a new island and new experiences. We explored the island of Sombrero Chino, which is basically a large volcano surrounded by lava rock. We saw seals relaxing on the white sand beach, crabs crawling over porous lava rock and lizards basking in the sun. From this island, members of our group who did not want to snorkel and swim went on a Zodiac ride back to the Millennium. My Grandmother took the ride. Although I'm not an experienced snorkeler, I decided to swim across the 400 foot channel to an adjacent island. Off the coast I saw Galapagos penguins, a school of angel fish, a manta ray, needle fish and many other types of fish. We were picked up by the Zodiac shortly thereafter and had about 1 ½ hours before dinner. Our delicious dinner of roasted chicken, bacon wrapped fish, steamed green beans and salad replenished our worn-out bodies. After the evening briefing and dessert, I took a quick shower and went to sleep.