Broken legs, giant turtles and rays

Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
Trip End Nov 20, 2011

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Friday, September 16, 2011

What an exciting start to Day 5. We headed onto South Plaza Island which is known as the Killer Whale restaurant at the right time of year due to its sea lion colony. The landing was slightly slippery due to the thousand years of sea lions defecating and polishing the rocks with it. Unfortunately our oldest shipmate, Ann, fell over and managed to break her shin in two places. It looked horrific and certainly not the way a leg should look. We all provided helpful comments like "there are worse places to break your leg than paradise". Luckily we had a doctor on board and she was able to make her comfortable while the emergency boat took almost 2 hours to arrive.

Meanwhile the rest of us investigated the rest of the island which presented numerous sea lions, iguanas, lava lizards and several birds. I'm not a great fan of birds by any means but these had such spectacular colourings and swooped and dived so enticingly that it turns out I took around 200 photos. The trouble with digital cameras eh?

After Ann was safely packed off to Quito, we sailed to Sante Fe, an island on the south eastern tip of Santa Cruz. The more south eastern the islands, the older they are as they travel away from the volcanic 'hot spot’ that is surrounded by Isabella Island. We started our introduction to this island with a snorkel in the bay. This was fantastic as although the water was still pretty nippy, I saw my first giant turtle. Its shell was probably a metre long and it swam so gracefully despite its bulky shape. We also played with some sea lions and a golden cowray. An additional bonus was seeing a huge flock of spotted eagle rays although this was from the boat afterwards.

We saw several endemic species on Sante fe – iguanas, lizards, finches, snakes and rats. We also smelled the incense tree which is deathly white throughout most of the year until the wet season when it suddenly blooms around Christmas time.
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