It was a shortish journey to Puerto Lopez but you feel like you're in a completely different place, where Montanita was hippisville and revolved around drinking and having a good time, Puerto Lopez was more of a proper town that just happened to be on a beach. It was definitely only a place to go as a stopover for whale watching or diving.
Our first choice of hostel was booked out for the evening so we had to stop at the one across the road. I wasn't worried where we slept as long as we had a bed and a bathroom. This may have been our downfall, we had a bathroom, however there was no door, no curtain, no nothing so the view from my bed was directly into the toilet. This might have been okay for a happily married couple of 30 years, but not particularly when you're travelling with someone you've only known a month or two.
We quickly made our back across the way to reserve a room at the other hostel for the following night.
The main purpose of our visit was to go whale watching and to go to Isla de la Plata, where you can see various bird types.
After we booked our day trip, it took us all of about ten minutes to walk the streets of Puerto Lopez. I was starving so we sat down at one of the cafes along the beachside road. This is the sort of place that if you love seafood, you'd be in heaven, not only was there stacks, it was as cheap as chips. As you're all aware, my love of seafood is non-existent so the options were fairly limited.
Because we'd had a fairly latish lunch, we didn't end up going for dinner until 8.30-9, unfortunately for us, we managed to pick a restaurant that only seemed to cook one meal at a time and we were the third or fourth table. It took an hour to get our food and we were starved.
On the Sunday we got up early to find some breakfast before heading out on the boat. I thought it best not to eat anything prior to the journey because motion sickness is not my friend.
There were about 16 of us in the boat and the boat wasn't exactly the QEII. Am hoping that the boat I'm in the Galapagos is much bigger. It was a fairly overcast day and we had a three hour trip out to Isla de la Plata.
The first couple of whales that we came across were quite a way away and also weren't doing much and I was starting to think that it wasn't going to be that exciting on the whale front. Not long after though, we came across a couple of other whales and these were spectacular.
Not only were they doing dives down into the water, they were spinning round like washing machines, first you'd see a flipper, then a fin then the other flipper. The whales were getting quite excited and getting up and jumping nearly completely out of the water, so you could see the barnacles on their beards. It was the most amazing thing to see the mating ritual and I wonder if human males would ever go to the same extent to court a woman, me thinkst not!!
We watched the whales for quite some time performing acrobatics and then headed to the island.
Once there, there was two options either going left or going right, we chose the right side so we could see the albatrosses.
There was a set of stairs up the side of the hillside and although it was a bit of a breath taker walk, we had one large american girl with us who acted as if it was Mt Everest we were climbing. She then got offended when the guide made some comment about her weight, apparently her size and fitness were two totally unrelated things and she was sick of people always commenting about it.
Our first wildlife encounter was some blue footed boobys that were just hanging out. Like the Galapagos, the birds on Isla de la Plata where not scared of humans and we got pretty close to the birds. Their feet were an amazing powdery blue colour and were all in all quite cute.
Although the albatrosses weren't as big as the Royal Albatross we have at home, we got to encounter them on a much closer level. After seeing one 10 or 15 metres away, we rounded a corner and then in the middle of the path was one just sittin', hangin', havin' a good time. He eventually got up and started waddling down the path - not off it, just down it, so we ended up following it for quite a few minutes before it got sick of us and took an off trail route.
We also got to see a boyfriend/girlfriend routine. It involves lots of wing flapping, squawking and beak slapping - quite an interesting sight.
Once the walk was over, it was lunchtime and then time for a snorkel. I didn't quite manage to get in the water, but it was apparently quite a nice view of the coral reefs - I think I'll just wait for the Galapagos and the Great Barrier Reef.
In the end I should have just gotten in, because I got absolutely soaked on the trip on the way back from the boat spray.
For dinner we met up with some german/swiss/Canadian girls that we'd met in Montanita.
The next day while Sascha went off diving, the girls and I were meant to go to the national park and check out the white sand beach, but the weather was rubbish. It poured for most of the day, so we just sat around the hostel chatting.
Sascha headed back to Montanita as soon as he returned from the diving. I had organised to catch a bus to Quito in the morning.
Everyone had told me a stack of horror stories about Quito, but I was looking forward to going. I'd much rather be stuck in a city in bad weather than in the middle of a little town with nothing to do.