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Tuesday, September 25th  Espanola Island
This was a very tiring morning, but well and truly worth the exertion. We had a dry landing at Suarez Point on Espanola Island. The path is extremely roky, but we had all been warned to wear our sturdiest walking shoes and we all had sticks. We saw so many species it was amazing – a glimpse of red-footed boobies, lots of great looks at blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, Galapagos hawks, Darwin’s finches, marine iguanas, Sally Light-Foot crabs, albatrosses, and so on and on. Shortly after landing we came across a very young infant sea lion, still with an umbilical cord. We really enjoyed watching the “engagement” ritual of a couple of newly-mature Waved Albatrosses. It is a dance involving “bill-circling”, “bill-clapping” and “sky-pointing”. They mate for life but at this point are not breeding, just pair bonding. Breeding will happen a year later. We saw several of the juveniles who will fly out to sea in December and not return to land until they mature in 5 years. Beyond the albatross area we rested at the top of a cliff where there is a blow-hole. Galapagos hawks flew very near us. At one point several people screamed my name as one appeared to be dive-bombing me – perhaps attracted by my outstanding red sun hat! We saw sea lions even under bushes, very far from the beach and when we came back to the landing many young ones were frolicking in the surf. Back on board we had a snack, some quiet time and then lunch. Cathy, Lynn and Myrna went kayaking for a half hour or so and reported the water to be fairly warm. Shortly after, the 3 of them plus Heather, David, Larry and I went by panga to Gardner Island in Gardner Bay for snorkeling with Pepe. Larry, Myrna and I decided not to wear wetsuits and got a little chilled but it was good. Some small sea lions came and played, and we saw sea stars, green and brown sea urchins, and lots of little fish. After we came back Brock, Elsie, Ruth and Sally-Jo went to the beach, which they said was the best yet. Beautiful fine, soft sand and lots of animals. Then it was evening briefing and dinner followed by a few rounds of Bananagrams before bed.

We are enjoying life on the Flamingo I. There are just the 12 of us on board with 10 crew, including Pepe our guide. There’s lots of variety in the meals. Always a fish and meat choice at dinner, and so on. Of course there are snacks always available and at least 2 or 3 fancier ones every day. Luis serves the tables and tends bar with friendliness and skill. Maria, the magic woman, has our rooms made up almost as soon as we leave in the morning for breakfast. The panga drivers are skilled and funny. Each of our 4 singles has her own cabin, which is good since they’re a bit tight.


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