Wednesday, March 2, 2011

El Cruzeo

Sooo....I went on a cruise with my parents. It was actually a lot of fun and even though I was the youngest person there by at least 10 years and had a deviation of 40 from the average age, it had a good bit of adventure and excitement. On Sunday we woke up at 5:15 to take the boat from Puerto Villamil to Puerto Ayora. Then we took a cab across the island and onto the ferry boat across the canal. Then a bus up to the airport and then a bus down to the harbor and onto the cruise boat. It was absolutely gorgeous. We did so much and visited so many places in such a short time that I can't possibly do it justice, but I chose my favorite pictures. I now have a new netbook that my parents bought that I can use for the rest of my time here so I am able to upload pictures! Keep in mind that all of these pictures are unedited and a little rough. I don't know how to use PCs anymore and I cannot wait to have iphoto back. Overall I really enjoyed the cruise with my parents despite being a little seasick last night and it was a nice break from class everyday.

my cabin
 The cook was throwing pieces of food out the window after dinner on Sunday and a swarm of frigate birds thought it would be fun to first fight each other over the food and then fly above the boat for a while. We stood on the sun deck and watched them soar only a few feet away.
Female Frigate Bird (white chest)

Monday we woke up in Floreana and it was rather confusing because we were on a different side of Floreana than I had been the week before. There was a post office type deal where you can put in a postcard addressed to someone or yourself and leave it in the mailbox. Hopefully someone who lives close to you will come along and pick it up and bring it back to wherever you may live and hand deliver the message. Unfortunatley I didn't find any with addresses close to Miami, Bonita Springs, Otis, or Isabela. I would have really enjoyed knocking on a strangers door with a postcard.
The beach where we landed to go to the post office was a bit dull so I headed underwater as usual. This time with my mother and father in tow.
We snorkeled for a while, but they eventually ended up back on the beach while I continued on. I found the most beautiful female sea turtle eating. She was also the biggest one I have ever seen. Earlier that morning my dad saw a bunch of turtles swimming away from the beach where they left marks in the sand indicating that they had laid eggs. I assume this female had either laid her eggs the night before or was scoping out a spot to lay that night. Either way she was amazing and very curious. We watched each other for a long time and she swam in my direction several times and almost hit me with her flippers. Not in an aggresive way, but in a "I'm trying to eat and you are over the algae I want to consume so please move or I will eat around you" way.
Green Sea Turtle

Later that afternoon we went snorkeling again and it is now up on my top 3 snorkel list. Eagle Rays, Guinea fowl puffers, bicolor parrotfish, nesting Panamic Sargeant Majors, huge terminal phase males of both hogfish and parrotfish, beautiful seastars, Moorish Idol, and of course white tip sharks. I counted 7 of them at once and the guide had to literally pull me out of the water. The only reason I got back on the boat was because my memory card was full. Otherwise I would still be there.
Sergeant Majors

Guineafowl puffer

White Tipped Reef Shark!

We hiked around Floreana in the afternoon and got to hear the history of the island. I had already heard the story multiple times, but it was interesting to hear this guide's take on the information. Now that I have visited the same sites twice with different guides it is amazing how much flucuation there is in the information that they are giving. A lot of it I can make my own decisions about because I've learned so much here that I can tell what makes sense, but a lot of tourists are eating up every word that the guide says and not all of it is true. Interesting.
Floreana Salt Marsh

Next day we woke up on Espanola. We took the dingys onto the beach were 342 sea lions were resting and playing. None of them were afraid of humans and I actually got to play with some of the babies. I would get them excited and start running away and they would actually chase me. A lot of the babies were nursing from their mothers and it was the cutest thing in the world. My mom and I then took to the water to play with them except they weren't feeling to playful. I attributed this to the fact that most of the sea lions I had played with until this point had probably never seen humans before and were curious. The ones on this beach see hundreds of humans every day and they already know the deal and aren't interested.

The snorkel in the afternoon was pretty lame. I saw a cornetfish right as I jumped in which was fun, but besides that not too much was new and interesting. This was also the first snorkel in the entire time I was here where there were jellyfish. As soon as I saw some in front of me I turned around to swim out of that area and they were all around me. Just like the scene in Finding Nemo.
Watch me get stung by a jellyfish. In 3...
After I took these pictures I decided to stop fooling around and get to the dingy so I started weaving and dodging the ones I could see and I swam straight into one that was laying across the surface of the water. I got stung right across my upper lip. Litterally the only part of my body that was exposed between my wetsuit, fins, bonnet, and mask. It was painful. After that I swam my little heart out towards that boat and didn't put my face back in the water.
That afternoon we toured Suarez Point which reminded me of our trip to Seymour Norte. There were pink and green marine iguanas, sea lions, lava lizards, nesting Nazca boobies, a few blue footed boobies, and tropic birds (OH, the tropic birds!) A lot of the pictures look like the birds are squaking at me, but they are just panting because it was a couple of degrees hotter than the surface of the sun that day.

Juvenile Blue-Footed Booby
This is a juvenile blue footed booby. He actually tried to attack me a couple times.

Nazca Booby

Nazca Booby and chick

What I was really excited for on Espanola is the famous blowhole. The lava tube is shaped just right that the waves push the water through the tube and up into the sky. We got to watch from a cliff high above it.

Espanola Coastline

Momma and Me

Flies in the Sea Lion's Wound
At the end of the trip I saw this poor baby sea lion with a gash on the back of its head. I felt horrible for it. Technically you are supposed to stay 6 ft. away from the animals, but this one was already on the path so I had to walk by and I used my hand to wave air at the wound to scare the flies away. Didn't really work because they came right back once they flew away. Although it is festering, I'm sure the baby will make a full recovery eventually.
Dead Animal!
And last but not least I had to include a picture of a dead animal. So here it is- a dead eel. I forget the name but it has to do with spots and a big cat name like leopard or tiger or something.
Right now we are at a hotel in Puerto Ayora which is the reason I can provide you with so many wonderful photos thanks to the fast internet. Cruise is done and we all are exhausted because having fun is hard work.  

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