Monday, December 4, 2006

Isabela: Tagus cove

After breakfast we suit up and hop in the zodiacs for the short ride from the ship to today’s prime dive spot: Tagus cove. It’s 8:04 when we roll into the instant-wake-up 19°C cold water. Luckily my double 7mm wetsuit does keep me cozy if not comfy.

We’re soon rewarded for our bravery: playful sea-lions swim by and I actually manage to keep one’s attention for more than a second by performing some acrobatics too, which, though they must appear as slow-motion clumsy turns to a sea-lion, quickly have me sucking hard on my regulator.

 Sea-lion
Still recovering my breath, I then turn my camera to some much calmer creatures: three pretty large seahorses, one of them clearly pregnant.

 Seahorse
Two hours after the first dive we’re back again. This time I also get to see several stingrays, a sea-turtle, a pair of small penguins passing by just above me before plunging down in hunt-mode and a flightless cormorant torpedoing by, chasing some unidentified small fish.

Afternoon walk-about at Punta Espinosa on Fernandina island. The place is crawling with marine iguanas, huddling together by the dozens, in harems jealously guarded by head-shaking salt-spitting males. Flightless cormorants are drying their useless wings.

 Flightless cormorant
18:00, we're sailing over the equator as the sun sets and the moon rises above the volcanoes. Another world indeed.

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