We sailed in the morning to Gardner Bay an excellent swimming and snorkelling site. The beach was covered in sea lions (and was the one beach during the entire trip where we were literally surrounded by them). Great photo opportunities here to get pictures with these big wet dogs of the sea. There was also a wee flock of Mockingbirds which were obsessed with our water bottles.
In the afteronoon we sailed to Punta Suarez, on Española Island. This is the southernmost island in the Galapagos archipelago, and home to several wildlife species, including masked and blue-footed boobies. Punta Suarez on the western side of Española Island (also called Hood) is spectacular: gargantuan waves break on jagged cliffs and large bird colonies thickly populate the interior of the island; there is a distinct feel of desolate wilderness here. The Waved Albatross is seen here from April to December during its mating/nesting season. This bird leaves land between January and March each year to make its annual odyssey far out to sea. Amazingly, Española is the nesting site to virtually the entire world population of this species, with more than 12000 pairs residing here. Large numbers of masked and blue-footed boobies are also found here, red-billed tropic birds dash madly through the air, and both marine iguanas and sea lions are common. A huge blow-hole, where the surf is forced through a natural rock formation spouting seawater 15 to 20 m into the air, adds to the island’s impression of untamed beauty.
Espanola was by far the most interesting of all of the islands we visited on our tour of the Galapagos. With thousands of different birds, multiple kindergarten pools of young sea lions learning how to swim with their mothers (and guarded by a honking alpha male) and hundreds of iguanas spewing salt water out of their nostrils. If you are heading to Galapagos this island is not to be missed!