Hard to believe, but we only have two full days before we leave the boat to head back to Quito. Like usual we started the day early where we took a boat to a beautiful green sand beach. We hiked along a sandy trail where we learned about the endemic plants that inhabit the islands. We saw some endemic pintail ducks (a new bird for us) and marveled at the beauty of the bright pink flamingos loitering in the brackish pond. The walk took us up and around a small knoll where we ended up on a white sand beach. We were lucky enough to see a multitude of turtles laying on the beach or swimming in the shallow shoreline. We even got to see some marine turtles mating in the shallow shoreline. A little further along the beach allowed us to see female stingrays along the shoreline. We learned that the stingrays come close to shore to birth their young in order to minimize their risk of coming into contact with predators. Soon again we were back on board. After a short rest, it was time to get ready for snorkeling at Devil’s Crown. Kathy opted to shower and relax while Dave took pictures for her. Dave saw seven sharks, including a new species, the Galapagos shark! He also saw some small barracudas, a turtle, and some nice corrals. He also had a near tragedy. As he was climbing the ladder out of the water into the dinghy, his underwater camera which he had strapped onto his wrist caught on the ladder. The string broke and the camera went blub, blub, blub, down into the briny sea. Fortunately, Chris was swimming right behind and dove down to catch the camera. It took him a few grabs as the camera looked a lot closer when in the water, but he finally found success and saved Dave’s camera (and all of the day’s photos.) Meanwhile, Kathy was relaxing back on the boat!
What followed the snorkeling was lunch and the obligatory siesta for those tired swimmers. Kathy relaxed and listened to a book. The group, less Kathy, again went snorkeling but it was cut short as visibility was less than desirable. The group did manage to see multiple turtles swimming in the water and one manta ray so it was still a good day. A short break followed in order to shower and clean up before we headed to Post Office Island. There we will mail our postcards to ourselves, G, Irene, and Prity. I hope that a funny, respectable, and well to do man delivers G her card. We delivered our cards to the post office on Post Office Island, which really is a barrel with postcards in plastic bags. We thumbed through all the cards that were there to find some local ones that we could hand deliver. We picked up two, one from Akron, NY and another one that was about an hour away from us in Dansville, NY. Interestingly enough they were fairly current cards and it could be that Galapagos delivery system is quicker than the USPS. We shall see when they are delivered.
We walked along the beach and then watched the crew of the Yolita play soccer against the crew of the Archipelagi ll. The Yolita ll crew were the champions and our guide Omar scored the winning goal. A nice time was had by all and now it is time to relax for the next little while. The days are winding down and Kathy is looking forward to being on dry land!
Dinner was an exciting event. For the appetizer, we were given some sort of local vegetable with a little sauce on it. Kathy did not like the taste of the vegetable, but Elena told her to try it with the sauce, because it was better that way. Then, Elena started feeling her lips tingling and asked the crew if there were tomatoes in the sauce. Our crew asked the chef and she was told it did. Elena has an allergy to tomatoes that can leave her in anaphylactic shock – a condition which constricts her throat, cutting off her breathing. Fortunately, Dave knew of Elena’s allergy and had given her some of his Benadryl tablets when we first boarded the Yolita II 12 days ago. Elena ran to her room in a panic and took two tablets. In her rush, she failed to properly swallow the tablets, causing her to choke on them. As if anaphylaxis wasn’t bad enough! Fortunately, Chris helped her and she downed both pills. The Benadryl worked effectively and Elena did not have to use her emergency Epi-Pen. Had she had to use the Epi, she would have had to be taken to a medical facility for a follow-up exam and treatment. As you can imagine, there are not a whole lot of hospitals in the middle of the ocean around the Galapagos archipelago. Fortunately, she was spared from any need for further treatment. Thank goodness!