29th -- South Plaza Island and Ayora Port, Santa Cruz Island.
We got a bit of extra sleep this morning for a later start, then went ashore
for a walk on South Plaza Island. We were glad to have our walking sticks.
It is the very rocky home of land iguanas, who feed on the cactus that grow
quite thickly. There were, of course, lots of sea lions including one huge
male who seemed to be resting from his labours and perhaps hoping someone
would come and take over his harem. Lots of birds starting with swallow-tail
gulls at the landing place, pelicans, a red-billed tropicbird (minus its
beautiful long tail, which it had lost to a frigate bird), frigates, tiny
black sharp-beaked finches. One marine iguana crossed our path. Back on the
boat, we had a very rolling trip back to Santa Cruz Island. Myrna and David
opted out of the visit to the Darwin breeding centre, where Lonesome George
used to live until his death earlier this year. There the rest of us saw
various types of tortoises being protected and/or bred. When we went back to
the meeting place, no David and Myrna! The local people in the area said
they’d arrived and walked toward the town. So we headed that way, even
sending scouts out as far as a construction site that was blocking the main
street. No sign of them. The rest of us shopped and strolled the length of
the town, made our way through the construction and found them at the pier.
Turned out there had been a misunderstanding and the panga driver had
dropped them at the pick-up point instead of the drop-off. They had ventured
out to the far side of the construction but missed most of the town. Back on
board, Sally-Jo discovered that Maria had decorated her room with balloons
and streamers and had fashioned all her towels into a birthday cake on her
bed. Her real birthday is tomorrow, but we’ll be in transit. In the lounge,
we found more decorations and we had quite a party, farewelling the crew and
honouring the birthday. Galapagos Sun-Sets, champagne, birthday cake (with
the added Ecuadorian custom of biting off a little corner of the cake after
blowing out the candles – with the result of icing on face), “Happy
Birthday” in both English and Spanish and finally “Go Now in Peace”, which
we sing at the end of every trip.
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