Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Taking a Break at Sombrero Chino

April 14, 2010, p.m.

The afternoon options gave us a choice between deep sea snorkeling by Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) or “glass bottom” kayaking around the same area (though the glass was really acrylic). Avi and I opted for a third option: staying on board the yacht and birding/relaxing on the upper deck. Another passenger, Joan, thought that was a fine idea and joined us.

Our time was divided among watching sea birds, checking out the nearby lava field that was only about 100 years old, and doing some reading.

Of most photographic interest, the lava field was extensive and impressive. Looking at it helped you picture how hot magma must have hit the ocean, congealed, and then hardened. Behind the field were Candelabra Cacti, a reminder that life can prosper under the harshest conditions.


Once people returned to the yacht from their activities, the usual afternoon cocktail hour began, with people having drinks on the upper deck. This particular afternoon we had several Frigatebirds following the yacht, even landing on it. Avi and I began to ponder why this might be.

Our most reasonable conclusion was fishing boats must throw them scraps. They’ve probably learned boats of a certain size are their friend and come by for easy handouts whenever they can. Unfortunately for them, no scraps were forthcoming from this crew.

The range in maturity among the birds that visited our yacht that afternoon gave us a great opportunity to study the development of the pouch the males use to woo their ladies, since we had an immature male, a young male, and a mature one.




During cocktails, we were promised a possible surprise during our early evening sailing to the next island. We were fortunate – our “surprise” was exactly where it was supposed to be.

It was a group of Greater Flamingos swimming in a caldera (extinct crater). We pulled up as close as we , could to the island so we could get a decent view of them. Interestingly, they were swimming in the water. We had never seen Flamingos swim and they seemed more graceful without their long gawky legs in view.


The crew was watching large fish in the ocean coming to the surface with their enormous mouths open to catch food. The fishes’ English name is Milkfish. For the duration of our time in that spot our attention was well-divided between the Flamingos and the Milkfish.

During our early evening sail, we decided to take a photo of all of us. Unfortunately, Ivan had to act as photographer, so is absent from our photograph.


Then we stayed up on deck and watched yet another beautiful sunset by the equator.


We went downstairs for our evening orientation about the following day, then dinner, then……

We were treated to some evening entertainment by the crew. They performed a few songs with “I-lo” (Ivan) as emcee and star performer. The evening concluded with everyone dancing in the dining area’s aisle.

One thing I love about Ecoventura: the crew is small enough that they are included during social evenings. We not only hobnobbed with the Captain, but with the panga drivers, the kitchen/cleaning crew, and the engineers as well.

The bird list for April 14 (in no particular order):

Small Ground Finch

Medium Ground Finch

Woodpecker Finch

Galapagos Mockingbird

Ruddy Turnstone

Wandering Tattler

American Oystercatcher

Blue-footed Booby

Galapagos Shearwater

Band-rumped Storm Petrel

Brown Pelican

Frigatebird (sp?)

Swallow-tailed Gull

Brown Noddy

Lava Heron

Great Blue Heron

Greater Flamingo

Semipalmated Plover

Galapagos Dove

Galapagos Flycatcher

Smooth-billed Ani

No comments:

Post a Comment