Wednesday, January 19, 2011
On Monday we first visited an area that would be better off for scuba diving, but we still were able to see a lot. There were a few very large volcanic rocks that stuck out of the water. They were exposed to the open ocean so the waves would crash into them. Think that picture of the waves crashing over the lighthouse in Alaska, but less dramatic. This area is so different from what I'm used to looking at that at times I would just float on the surface looking at the patterns of the rocks and the algae attached to them. Everything is so different. At that site we were looking for hammerheads and a dive charter next to us said that they saw some 60-70 ft down, but none of us can free dive that deep. However, we did see several turtles, rays, and fish.
At the second site, the water was a lot calmer and the currents weren't threatening to take us away between two razor sharp rocks. There were a lot more beautiful fish and a very playful sea lion. There was a little cave about 3 feet under the water and the sea lion would hide inside. Every once in a while she would come out and show off for us doing circles, flips, and blowing bubble rings. We thought there was only one sea lion, but at one point we heard this deep growl and a bull stuck his head out of the cave.
Yesterday we traveled around Santa Cruz in the other direction. I saw my first booby which was absolutely awesome along with a lot of petrels. The water was especially blue today and although I forgot my wetsuit, I wasn't that cold. We snorkeled around some very tiny islands and the current between them all was very strong. Often times I would be swimming as hard as I could and I would be staring down at the same rock without moving. The sitings included sea stars, sea cucumbers, many fish, an eel, neon green sea urchins, and others. The highlight was the white tip shark. Once again there was a lot of debris in the water so the visibility wasn't great, but its clear in the pictures that it is a shark.
We then traveled the rest of the way around the island to the point exactly opposite of Puerto Ayora and took taxis back. We stopped and watched the sun set over a huge volcanic crater that is now filled in with vegetation. So far I am having a ton of fun, we haven't done much work yet. Lots of people are getting sick from either the food or the water, but I am hopefully avoiding it. Right now my only complaint is that I need something soft to sit on. The boat seats were hard, the chairs in the breakfast room that we used for class are hard, the bench that I'm sitting on now is hard, and it is really uncomfortable. But that is my only complaint. I will try to upload pictures as soon as possible, but the connection here is slow and I don't feel like or have the time to wait forever at my computer for them to upload.