Our boat moved a small distance early in the morning so when we arose for breakfast, we were near South Plaza Island, just of the coast of Isla Santa Cruz.
After breaky we jumped in the dingy to the island for a walk around. As soon as we put our feet on land we were surrounded by sea lions, both adults and babies, resting on the rocks. There were also various types of sea birds and a Canario Maria.
One of the things that hit us first on this island was the smell, seemingly a combination of bird poo, sea lion poo and the rotting carcasses of a couple of baby sea lions.
Our guide informed us not to touch the sea lions, especially the babies, as touching them may affect their smell. Their mothers recognise them from their smell, and altering this could lead to rejection of the baby so it won't be fed. He suggested the dead babies were likely a result of people having touched them, but we found that hard to believe and hoped it was just a result of natural selection instead.
After snapping some picks of the sea lions and birds we followed the walking path, and before long we spotted numerous yellow land iguanas, with yellow scaly flesh around their heads and claws. They just sat sunning themselves generally, though we saw one feasting on some cactus.
Aside from cactus, the island also had a plant known as the Galapagos carpet. In some areas this plant was green, and in other higher areas it had turned red, a result to reduce photosynthesis. The red carpet with the backdrop of turquoise waters was really striking.
Our walk around the island required some creative navigation in some parts. We were to stay between the short posts on either side of the trail, however on occasion a sea lion or iguana decided they would like to rest in the middle of the path. Not stepping on them became quite a challenge!
On the less sheltered eastern side of the island was a bit of a cliff face upon which lots of different birds were roosting (and pooing). Large swallow-tailed gulls, pelicans, and more, would dive into the ocean to retrieve a fish, then return to the cliffs.
As we made our way back for our dinghy collection we stopped what felt like every 3 metres for a photo of another sea lion (especially the babies!) or iguana. You can get so close to them without them even caring that you are there. At the most, they might give you a "what are you looking at" type look. Eventually we dragged ourselves away back onto the boat.
We then sailed to our next point, Isla Santa Fé. This took about 2 hours and a few of us sat near the helm of the boat (partially for the view, partially to avoid sea sickness). While looking out at the ocean in front of us we managed to spot some Manta Rays breaching in the distance. What a sight!
Soon after a huge pod of dolphins arrived, riding on the bow waves of the boat. There seemed to be hundreds, coming from all directions, turning when they were just in front of the boat in order to pick up the wave.
After arriving at Isla Santa Fé and having some lunch once we had anchored, we set off for a snorkel. Moving along a rock wall we met a few sea lions and a bunch of weird and wonderful fish, a few sting rays and eagle rays, and Lindsay saw a turtle. Unfortunately most of us got a bit cold so we jumped out of the water after about 40 minutes, which was a shame as soon after we saw a quite a few rays swimming around.
Our last activity for the day was a walk on the island. There were masses of sea lions lazing on the beach which occupied our attention for a while. How could you ever get sick of sea lions?? Walking further we saw more land iguanas, this time they were almost army camouflage in colour. A few other lizards and birds were also around.
We returned to the boat and had dinner. From what we had been told earlier that day we would be moving to the next island late in the night once everyone was asleep, so we were all looking forward to some time to relax after dinner. When we finished our meal, we gathered for the briefing with our guide of the next days activities.
At the conclusion of the briefing we were informed that we would be leaving for Isla Española, sailing into the current, immediately. Lindsay ran to our room to take a motion sickness tablet, but without any warning the tablet had no time to take effect. Within 5 minutes she was getting to know the toilet better in our cabin. Thank goodness we ended up paying extra for the boat with private bathrooms!
Once uncomfortably familiar with the toilet, Lindsay retired to bed, finding the horrendous rocking slightly more bearable when lying horizontal. Since we had no warning of when we would start moving, we also hadn't secured any items in our room. One by one, Lindsay watched as coins, the camera, sunglasses and other items fell from the shelves, physically unable to do anything about it.
Fergus had been sitting with the other passengers that weren't affected on the main deck. Deciding to check on Lindsay he went back to the cabin, but upon entering the tiny little swaying room decided he too wasn't feeling too good, so he climbed into the top bunk to assume a horizontal position.
So there we were, feeling utterly horrible and in bed by 8pm. Not as enjoyable an end to the day as we had hoped!