Early start this morning for a trip out to South Plaza Island, which is just a short distance offshore of on the north-east of the main island of Santa Cruz, where I am staying.
This is a wedge shaped rocky island formed from an uplift of tectonic plates millennia ago. It is distinguished by its covering of red coloured shrubbery and is one of the few islands where both land and marine iguanas live, in fact, they do interbreed here and there are a small number of hybrids around, we are told ( we didn’t see any). One of the great shames from a visitor point of view, but not from the animals’, is that we are only allowed to spend a maximum of 2 hours on the island and it is one of those places you would like to just sit and observe and absorb yourself in the super wildlife environment.
There are sea lions gambolling in the water and just lying around on the island, some suckling young and lots of iguanas; the male land iguana has yellow markings and the female more brown and beige, but both in contrast to the black marine variety. And, lots and lots of birds, especially on the cliff side of the island; hundreds of shearwaters, swallow-tail gulls, many with chicks, brown noddies, skuas, the ubiquitous finches, frigate birds (these really are massive birds, with males having a 2m + wingspan) and pelicans, and then my first blue-footed booby – hope to see lots more of these.
Really good lunch in board the launch and then we stopped in a cove where we donned masks and did some snorkelling in the clear aquamarine water near the shore -lots of fish and, lying on the bottom, a white tip reef shark – apparently they don’t attack humans, well, not here anyway!
Back to town and a message waiting for me from one of the small cruise boats we hope to be working with in 2015. So I went over to the dock and was collected in a zodiac to have a look at the Javia III, operated by G Adventures. More boats to see in the morning and hopefully, by the time I leave I will have a good idea of the variety of craft operating in the islands.
Time for a beer and dinner, more tomorrow, Thursday.