So last night turned into a bit of hellscape. We left Isabella and sailed south to the island of Floreana. And to say the seas were rough is an understatement. As we left Isabella, I decided it would be a good idea to go downstairs to my cabin and take a nap. Bad choice. I was thrown back and forth in my bed and got zero sleep. But to make matters worse, I began to feel seasick. Ugh. Rather than go upstairs for dinner, I decided to skip the meal. At some point, I wanted to change my clothes and put on my PJs. Second bad choice of the day. When I bent down to open the drawer where my clothes are stored, I was overwhelmed with nausea. At that point, the toilet bowel and I became intimate friends. Ugh.
I finally managed to crawl back to my bed, but not before I was violently tossed against the wall, the doorway to the bathroom and the door to the bathroom. And while I was done being sick, I was not done being tossed about like a rag doll. At some point I woke up to use the bathroom and round two of being tossed around occurred. It was brutal.
By the time we reached Floreana, around 3:00 a.m., the seas had calmed and I was able to get a few hours sleep before breakfast at 6:00 a.m. After breakfast, we loaded into the zodiacs and went to the “Floreana” post office. It is tradition in Floreana that you write a postcard or two and leave them in the box. As people visit the post office, they are encouraged to take postcards written by someone in your country (or state) that have been left in the box and mail them when you return home.
So once we landed in Bahia de Correos (Post Office Bay), Harry took us on a 2 minute walk away from the beach to visit the post office. There was a large stack of cards in the box and as luck would have it there were three postcards written by folks in Washington State. I took the three postcards and will mail them when I return home in a couple weeks. Great tradition.
As we walked back to the beach, we saw that a whole school of Diamond stingrays decided to pay us a visit. The area all along the beach was filled with the rays flitting back and forth. So while we waited for the zodiacs, we watched the rays scoot here and there along the shoreline. It was highly entertaining.
Once back on the boat, the Captain steered the boat north for about a half hour until we reached a small little inlet. Here we had the option of kayaking or taking the zodiacs to shore. Steve, Nancy and I opted to take the zodiac, while James, Shelly, Phil, Penny, Geert and Jolene opted to kayak and Peter opted to paddle board. There was quite a bit of wave action so how Peter stayed upright is not only amazing, but a testament to strong leg, butt and stomach muscles.
Anyway, once we were ready to go we motored towards land, and could immediately hear the distinct bark of a male sea lion proclaiming that a particular spot of beach belonged to him. And sure enough, the big guy came into view sounding his warning for all to hear.
Now something interesting that Harry told us about these alpha males. They spend so much energy barking and patrolling their area of beach that they usually only last three weeks or so as the dominant male before they are ousted by another male. Yikes! Three weeks is not a long time to be king.
Anyway, we sat for a bit and watched the baby sea lions fight to get close to the zodiacs to see what we were all about. And on one rock, we spotted a Christmas iguana, so named for its brilliant red hues.
We continued to motor around with the kayakers close behind. From the zodiacs, we spotted a blue footed boobie, more Christmas iguanas, still more sea lions and the occasional frigate dive bombing into the water for its breakfast. We eventually landed and took an easy hike up the rocky incline to a viewpoint overlooking the bay. And the view was indeed spectacular. We could see across the bay and the various reefs below in the azure water. Behind us, inland, there were a series of dormant volcanoes as well as the offshoot splatter cone volcanoes we have now come to recognize. It was a very peaceful, serene, site.
We eventually hiked back down and loaded back into the zodiacs and kayaks for the ride back to the boat. And after a quick mid-morning snack, we pulled on our wetsuits and headed to the underground volcano known as Devil’s Crown for some snorkeling.
We started out on the right side of the rocky outpost and immediately saw three white tip sharks, two of which I caught on video below. Ugh, but they were several feet below us and paid us no mind. We saw schools of colourful fish and Harry even spotted a very colourful spinney lobster that moved a little too quick for me to turn on my underwater video camera to take a video. There was the occasional marine turtle swimming past, as well as the very colourful yellow pufferfish aka guinea fowl pufferfish. And on this side of the rocks, we were battling two very strong currents. It was, to say the least, hard work to stay close to the rocks and coral reef.
After a bit, we piled back in the zodiacs and moved to the center of Devil’s Crown and snorkeled through the middle of the rocks. Again, we saw brightly coloured fish in what I believed was the best underwater visibility we had on the trip. And added bonus, there were so many little hiding places and colourful underwater plants for the fish, you never knew what was going to pop out at you.
About fifteen minutes later, we loaded back into the zodiacs and moved to the left side of the rocks and spent some time in this area. Unfortunately, we did not see much on the left side of the rocks. Sure there was the occasional school of fish, but nothing remarkable or close to what we had seen on the right and center portion of Devil’s Crown.
We finally called it a day and headed back to the boat for some lunch. Our time at Floreana had come to a conclusion … or so we thought. Within minutes of the Captain starting the engines to begin our journey back to Santa Cruz, he cut the engines and announced “dolphins”. And sure enough, a large pod of bottle nose dolphins had surrounded our boat. They were everywhere. Swimming, leaping and swimming again.
Harry asked if anyone wanted to go swimming
with the dolphins, but Steve, Nancy and I opted out. I wanted to get some pictures from the boat. So for the next half hour some of our folk swam around with the dolphins while the rest of us snapped away from the boat. It was a fantastic end to the first week of my trip visiting the Galapagos in the west. Tomorrow I say goodby to my shipmates and get to know a whole new set as we sail to the southeastern Galápagos Islands