“Espanola Island – Punta Suarez & Gardner Bay” Urthwmn’s photos around Espanola, Ecuador

Preview of Urthwmn's blog at TravelPod. Read the full blog here: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/urthwmn/1/1262200138/tpod.html This blog preview was made by TravelPod using the TripAdvisor™ TripWow slideshow creator. Entry from: Espanola, Ecuador Entry Title: "Espanola Island - Punta Suarez & Gardner Bay" Entry: "12-13-09 Espańola (Hood) Island -- Punta Suarez & Gardner Bay We were up early 6 AM wake up, 630 breakfast, 715 take the pangas to Espańola Island. It was a dry landing and then we walked 2.5 miles on rocky uneven volcanic ground. We were advised to stay 5 feet away from bull and nursing sea lions. The crew is very nice and accommodating. When there was no hot water for showers this morning, I just called the front desk and asked for help and it was fixed within 5 minutes. Poor Lorin took a cold shower as she didn't realize it wasn't working until she got in. We had scrambled eggs, corn fritters, and fresh fruit for breakfast. Muesli, corn flakes, granola and juice are also available and the wonderful Ecuadorian coffee is available 24/7. On the way we saw a sea turtle coming up for air and floating on the water. It was exciting. We had a dry landing to a desert paradise with Galapagos Sea Lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs greeting us. There were baby sea lions all over the place. In fact there was a baby sea lion nursing right off the trail -- see pic. Marine Iguanas are everywhere too. They are are the only sea-going lizard in the world and are black with a mottling of red and green. The young ones are mostly black. There must have been 100 iguanas within the first 200 feet we walked. It was crazy. Luckily they sit around on the rocks and don't move very much, or you would step on them. The iguanas also gather in big piles or clusters and sort of sleep on top of each other to conserve heat. Most of the iguanas we saw were 1 to 3 feet long, although they can grow up to 5 feet long. Since they go into the ocean to feed on the seaweed, they excrete and spit the salt water out while they are resting. It's quite surprising when you are observing an iguana that is just sitting there and all of a sudden it spits a bunch of sea water out, sort of like a very wet sneeze. Of course it isn't spitting at you, just spitting out the salt water to get rid of it. We had to be careful and walk around the animals as they are on the path and in the path often. We walked down the path a little further and saw both juvenile and adult Nasca and Blue Footed Boobies. One of the youngsters was playing with a stick, throwing it in the air and trying to catch it, just a foot off the path. It was quite entertaining watching it play. Within the first 5 minutes on Espańola, we saw a Galapagos Hawk and at first it was on the lighthouse that was near the landing, so you could not see it very well, but then it flew down to the salt bushes and we were able to walk right up to it and be within 3-5 feet of it. Imagine 15 people standing right in front of a 15 inch tall hawk taking pictures. All it did was look at us and shift around a bit, preen a bit and stare down through the bush to look at a Hood Mockingbird it was trying to figure out how to catch and then it stared at us some more. It was phenomenal. I have never been that close to a wild raptor in my life, especially being able to observe it for 10 minutes. We had to be careful of the mockingbirds as they are quite curious and have learned that the visitors carry fresh water (a very rare commodity) in their bottles. Our guide cautioned us not to drink our fresh water around them as they will try and drink out of your water bottle if it is opened, even while you are drinking. They might even land on you, which could be quite surprising. There were baby sea lions swimming near the shore and we were able to get close and observe them playing with each other. A Galapagos Heron (Lava ..." Read and see more at: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/urthwmn/1/1262200138/tpod.html Photos from this trip: 1. "Blue Footed Boobie Chick" 2. "Blue Footed Boobie in Nest" 3. "Blue Footed Boobie Resting Under A Bush" 4. "Espanola Lava Lizard" 5. "Espanola Coastline with Nasca Boobie" 6. "Blue Footed Boobie with Chick" 7. "Espanola Coastline" 8. "Espanola Island - Lorin" 9. "Galapagos Hawk & People" 10. "Galapagos Hawk Close-Up" 11. "Galapagos Hawk on Lava" 12. "Galapagos Hawk in Salt Bush" 13. "Galapagos Hawk on Lighthouse" 14. "Galapagos Hawk Perching" 15. "Great Frigate Bird" 16. "Hood Mocking Bird" 17. "Galapagos Hawk" 18. "Lava Heron" 19. "Lorin & Marine Iguana" 20. "Godzilla - Marine Iguana" 21. "Marine Iguana Close-Up" 22. "Marine Iguana - Large" 23. "Marine Iguana - Close-Up" See this TripWow and more at http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-00bb-4984-8cfa?ytv4=1