Ecuador 2011: Day 5
San Cristobal: Morning arrives particularly early as we had a full day of animals, sights, and snorkeling planned. Following a quick but hearty breakfast we head down to the Maria’s family restaurant which also happens to have a small tour office and snorkeling gear. We’re outfitted (as needed) with flippers, snorkels, and dive masks and then its off to the docks and a boat to “Sea Lion Island”.
After a short boat trip, occasionally detouring into a cove or pausing to snap a bunch of animal pics, we arrive at a spot where we can snorkel around “Sea Lion Island”. While achieving my first layer of sunburn I also witnessed:
- Sand Dollars
- Sea anemones
- Numerous types of fish
- Sea lions
- Marine iguanas
- Blue-footed boobies
Kicker Rock (León Dormido)
After about an hour, we returned to the boat for the journey out to “Kicker Rock”, a 500 foot-high rock formation formed from the remains of a volcanic cone and jutting from the waters off the northwest of San Cristobal like a giant anvil and blade. After a circuit around the rocks observing the numerous boobies and frigatebirds we took to snorkeling again, this time traversing between the two sections of the rock. In addition to the large schools of fish, huge starfish, occasional sea turtles, and spotted eagle rays, we also saw large black-tipped reef sharks.
With additional sunburn secured and a relaxing boat ride back to town complete, we cleaned up and then headed to have a local dinner. This time, we were involved by helping to cook the dinner with a local chef as we also learned the traditional recipes and techniques. I deep-fat fried plantains while others chopped vegetables, smashed the once-cooked plantains before a second fry, mixed ingredients, etc.
Bellies full, we sauntered back to the hotel and sleep for our last night on San Cristobal.