Espanola, of all the Enchanted Islands,is the most wondrous. Words can not describe the beauty and wildlife of this magical island. It is sacred.
The surf was beautiful and a bit rough when landing at Suarez Point,
but only a few hundred feet away we came upon a much calmer inlet where sea lions lounged and we were greeted by a Galapagos Hawk.
Mockingbirds arrived within minutes. These friendly birds have learned that humans carry water. Since there is no fresh water on Espanola they hope to beg or steal a few precious drops. Unfortunatety, for the mockingbirds, we obeyed the "no interference rule" like the Prime Directive and all they could do was complain to each other about the mean tourists.
The hike started along the beach then looped around the island for almost two rough, rocky, challenging, spectacular miles.
Sally Lightfoot Crabs decorated the lava coast.
The wildlife was incredible. It seemed like the birds danced aroud us. There were many of Darwin's Finches,
and, soon, Waved Albatoss were flying overhead.
Seeing the first albatross was exciting! These are very large birds! Their wing span is about 7 feet and they are quite impressive! Little did we know that being buzzed by an albatross was only a hint of the spectacular sites to come.
After hiking a few more minutes we came across a pair of albatross cuddled on the edge of the trail.
They began a courtship dance as we approached. We stood or sat on the trail, approximately 3 or 4 feet from the pair and watched, enthralled, with every movement. It was as if the birds were fencing with their long beaks. A loud, "clack" echoed with each hit. Occassionaly, one or the other would stretch or nip at the neck of it's mate before going back to the fencing. Our guide told us we were behind schedule as she tried, unsuccessfully, to move us along. We weren't her normal group of tourists. We traveled to The Galapagos to see the birds and we were not about to budge. She laughed, knowing that she had no hope of getting us to move down the trail until the "show" ended.
When the birds finished their dance, they both turned to look at us as if to say, "How was the show?"
Great! The show was great! Thank you!
However, we soon learned that seeing albatross "perform" was not uncommon. As we reached the opposite coast, there were albatross and other birds everywhere!
The above pairs were within 75 feet of the stunning cliffs.
A blowhole gushed over 50 feet high.
Our guide became very serious about rushing us along as the sky began to glow with pinks and golds.
We stayed too long watching the albatross and now we were the last group on the island. We had to make it back to the ship before dark. The trail was difficult enough to navigate in the daylight! None of us wanted to try the hike in the dark!
We just made it to the zodiac as the sun was setting on what was truely a glorious day!