2010 Daily Journal
June 30, 2010
2010 Meet the Team
Que wow! Que dia! Today was a day when dreams became reality. Life-changing coffee at Hosteria Mandala got us ready for the day. On the beach we took in the reality of the Ecuadorian fisherman’s world. Frigate birds and pelicans competed with the fishermen for their catch. A Manta Ray and a hammerhead shark were part of the day’s catch.
We were welcomed into La Explora by Wilmer and Klever, our ship mates. The sea spray and two-foot swells elicited excitement as we approached Isla de Plata. This island showed us a similar environment to the Galapagos Islands. We began our climb to the top of the mountain one step at a time. After 178 steps we reached the summit and took in the breathtaking view. We caught the first view of the Blue-footed Booby. Each step brought us closer to the males’ competitive foot jig in an attempt to attract the female Booby.
Other birds that captured our attention and photographic lenses were the frigates with the red gular pouches, the tropicbirds with their long white tail feathers, and the Red-footed Boobies with their fluffy white chicks. At the end of the hike, we were excited at the chance to catch a glimpse of Humpback Whales.
We prepared ourselves for the worst as the sea seemed empty except for rolling swells. Luck, however, was with us. Our whale watching began as we spotted the spray from one whale. Then without warning, the whale breached several times during the next few minutes as we all looked on, captivated. Eventually, the whale tired of us. The captain sped to another location where we were thrilled to see a pair of whales fighting for the attention of the females below the surface.
When these whales left, we raced toward a sight that could have been straight out of National Geographic. The cloud cover surrounded us as we bounced over the waves. We came upon a pod of whales exhibiting every behavior about which we had read. The percussive slap of the huge pectoral fins drew shrieks from us all. This was followed by the breaching of a pod of whales. Many of the whales exhibited a behavior called “spy hopping,” peeking their noses out of the water to take in the surroundings. To our amazement and excitement, the whales came closer and closer until they were less than 25 yards from our boat.
Regrettably, our time with the whales ended as the captain sped to Puerto Lopez. Our return was bittersweet. We rushed to our hosteria where we met to share our reflections with the friends from whom we will soon separate, but to whom we will remain connected forever.
—Robyn, Jeannie, Anna and Jose
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