Isla Isabela – Sea Lions, Turtles, Sharks and Boobies

11 Mar

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Today was an amazing day- one of the best of my trip yet. After a quick swim at the beach only 50 meters from our room to wake us up, we grabbed some snorkel gear and headed out to a little bay called Concha De Perla, right near the dock where all of the boats come in from other islands.

We walked down a little wooden walkway shaded by mangroves and over about two feet of water. As soon as you walk in you can see aquatic iguanas shading themselves and snoozing on the pier and groups of sea lions playing in the water below you. At the end of the walkway is a little balcony and pontoon where the sea lions sun themselves and bark loudly at anyone who tries to steal their spot.

We jumped in the water and straight away saw a huge sea turtle slowly swimming around and munching on seaweed from the rocks right near the pontoon, checking out everyone that swam by but not really caring. We swam around for a while watching the sea lions play and exploring the area. After a little while I found the sea turtle again and swam with him side-by-side for ten minutes or so, just checking each other out and swimming around the bay. I was so focused on the turtle that apparently I totally missed a sea lion that swam up behind and around me wanting to play. At one point Pete jumped in the water and two seals came over to play with him, diving around and blowing bubbles at him when we went under the water. A few minutes after that another big sea lion jumped up on the pontoon to bake in the sun and pose for some photos. While they’re lots of fun in the water, they can be very intimidating on land if you get too close. Luckily we kept all fingers and toes.

We headed over to the port for some lunch and a few hours of chilling before we started a tour to Las Tintoreras- a small island only a few hundred meters from the pier where baby aquatic iguanas grow up and sea lions breed. On the way there we did some snorkeling where we saw white tip sharks, sea snakes, more amazing turtles and a bunch of seals that snuck up behind us wanting to play. When we dove down under the water they would swim around you, check you out and blow bubbles. One of the best experiences I have had yet.

We also saw lots of blue footed boobies. Cool enough birds with blue feet, but we’re not really ones for ornithology so lots of photos but not much excitement. By that stage in the afternoon we were exhausted anyway, so the only thing that got us excited was the thought of home-cooked friend rice (very tasty if I do say so myself), shower and bed. We’ve also just discovered that there’s no ATM’s on Isabela, so the three of us are living on $10 for the next day and a half. Hooray for budget backpacking.

More photos to come tomorrow morning when (read: if) the internet stops being a reprobate!

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