Isla Plaza on our last day.
Yogo was able to find us space on a boat for a day trip to Isla Plaza, an island about 2 hours by boat from Santa Cruz island where we are staying.
At 8:15 am a van with 7 people and our guide Jamie arrived to pick us up for the tour. We again went up island all the way to the water where we had arrived via bus and boat from the airport last Thurs. We were tendered out to our boat and everyone except myself and one guy went to the upper deck for our trip to the snorkeling bay. When we arrived we all spotted a giant turtle and a “vegetarian” shark, according to Jamie. Everyone except for myself and one other woman hit the water and we were escorted to the tender and taken in a boat for a really interesting ride around and then into the snorkeling bay. We saw lots of blue footed boobies nesting along the cliffs along with lots of frigates, Nasca boobies, red billed tropic birds, shearwater birds, swallow tail gulls, ground finches, cactus finches and I’m sure others that we did not identify. After about an hour in the water we all loaded up and headed for Isla Plaza (Plaza Island). A snack of sandwiches, sashimi, apples and cookies was served and was appreciated by the tired snorkelers.
When we arrived about an hour and half later we were greeted by lots of sea lions lounging all over the dock and in the water. There was one huge male that was guarding his herd if females and no other males were in sight. There were lots and lots if babies frolicking near the shore or lounging on the rocks soaking up the sun waiting for their mommies to return. Breeding season was starting as the females have one pup every year and become pregnant within one month of delivering. The pups stay with the mom for three years so each female has three pups, a one, two and three year old she is raising at all times. If something happens to the mom the three pups die as all the other females are busy and the do not adopt strays. There was evidence all around of pups that had list their mom, usually to a shark. We hiked all over the island and were introduced to lots of iguanas who are literally taking over the island and killing the cactus, which is the main source of food, faster than it can reproduce. The government is looking at options as at the rate they are reproducing and eating the cactus it is estimated they both will be gone in about 70 years. Another phenomena on this island is that the sea iguanas sometimes breed with the land iguana producing a “mule” type iguana that only lives for 25 years and can not reproduce. The serious downside of this mixed creature is that it can climb the cactus, which the land iguanas can not, hence destroying the cactus at an even faster rate. Will be interesting to see how they handle this situation.
On the far end of the island were were shown all the bachelor sea lions that were feasting and building up strength to do battle again for a heard of females against the reigning males. The fight for domination can last a couple of weeks with no time for eating so these males must build up their strength for the battle.
The temperature was perfect but the winds when we were up on the cliffs were viciously wild and had they been blowing in the other direction we would have been blown off the cliffs for sure. We then retraced our steps and headed for the boat.
Waiting for us was a set table with cloth napkins holding our utensils. We were served a plate with sliced chicken covered in mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli along with a fresh salad of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. I’m sure you can visualize the smile on Wayne’s face as I moved the chicken to his waiting plate. They then brought a large pan of rice for us to serve ourselves and I was one very happy camper. Broccoli mixed with mashed potatoes and rice makes a perfect meal for me!! Dessert was a half of a canned peach which I honestly had forgotten existed till now. I ate so many (cheap food) in college I never wanted to eat them again. One bite confirmed that I still felt the same way and Wayne was literally more than willing to step up to the plate for me.
Lunch made the trip back pass rather quickly.
That night for our last we opted for the ice cream shop that also had great looking thin crust super crispy pizza. I had a garlic, onion and cheese one and Wayne had the kitchen sink one. We both were so happy and enjoyed along with Pilsner beer that I have become quite fond of. Wayne finished with a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of mocha to accompany his espresso which he had missed having that afternoon. Happy boy for sure!!!(and so was I as that was the best pizza of the trip so far!!)
We’ve been here six nights and tomorrow we are off to Quito and phase three of our great South American adventure.