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Published: April 29th 2011
Day 7. March 14, 2011: Espanola Island Punta Suarez, Espanola
After we ate breakfast, we departed at 8:15 am for Punta Suarez, Espanola. Also known as the giant Albatross International Airport. Unfortunately, there were wintering (summering?) in Peru, so we just went up to the “runway” overlooking the ocean. This was a half mile loop. We were met by sea lions playing by the jetty, and we saw lots of marine iguanas. The marine iguanas are also very colorful now since it was mating season. They were grey with green and red highlights. We saw some digging in the ground preparing nests. We also saw a Galapagos hawk, Galapagos Mockingbird, lots of finches, boobies, and swallow tail gulls. There were two Galapagos Dove eggs underneath a rock right in the middle of the trail.
Back on the beach we saw a marine iguana playing in the surge with a sea lion. After a few sets of waves, one pummeled the iguana and landed him on the beach. Back to GV (Galapagos Voyager) for some veg time and snacks. We always had snacks and either water or tea waiting for us! Gardner Bay, Espanola
We motored to Gardner
Bay, another location on Espanola. There was a beautiful beach with lots of lazy sea lions. We got our snorkel gear and took the panga to the beach. We saw a large ray, green turtles, and some crabs. Steve spotted a green turtle about 15 feet down eating kelp. We just watched for a while, and the turtle surfaced 5 or 6 times and then swam a little. It was beautiful. Then Anne asked our naturalist, Williams, where the sharks were. We swam out some and he pointed to a rock under water. Our crew was a bit, shall we say, a bunch of practical jokers, so both of us thought he was kidding. Anne told Steve to dive down and take a look (no commentary from Steve on this). Steve came up and said “There’s a shark!” It was a white tipped reef shark, and this was Steve’s first shark encounter. Anne then dove down and took a look. Then Williams says “I will make him come out” and he goes down and pulls the shark out by his tail! Steve was thinking “There goes our guide”. But the shark just swam around and then went right back under
the rock. Then, Anne felt an intense sting on her right foot. She knew better than to grab it, so she looked down in the water but didn’t see anything. Then an intense sting on her left calf. At that point she looked at Steve and Williams and said “something is stinging me”. They both looked around aimlessly, and by now the jelly has attacked her left arm and moved to her right arm. “Sting, sting, sting” is all Anne said, then raised her right arm out of the water and there was a long stringy jelly attached. Anne shook it off, then said “I want to go back to the panga”. Steve of course helps her, and said “let’s swim”. Anne put her snorkel in her mouth and the jelly had gotten that too, so now her lip was on fire. Steve heroically swam her back to the panga, a bottle of vinegar was retrieved from GV, and after that she smelled like a pickle and was swelling like the Elephant woman. Sunset
After dinner, we went up to the top deck and watched the lazy sea lions finally leaving the beach. They were evacuating the beach in
droves as the sun set to hunt for food. Clusters of them swam by the boat on their way out to sea. Two large sea lions were playing around the boat so that was some entertainment before we headed out to the next island overnight.
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