The day started at the Española Island. We traveled the night before to this location from Santa Cruz, in our designated yacht, the Odyssey.
Geared up, Team USA began the hike through the rocky stones that conforms the Española Island. This place is famous for its fauna. Sea Lions and marine iguanas, lava lizards, Darwin’s finches, masked boobies and more animals that live peacefully on the best ecosystem in the world, Galápagos.
We arrived in an inflatable boat to one of the uninhabited islands that keeps an exotic and dreamy scenery. The production team and Team USA put their cameras to photograph everything, but a particular sound warned us of the presence of someone else. From the bushes you could hear a mix of noises. It was a baby sea lion that from what we understood, was calling his mom. Then the seals poked their heads so we could see them. They had just awakened and how they yawn!
The hike around the Española Island continued. After passing through a narrow, rocky road, we went to a beach were the photographers of Team USA, Scott, Andrew and Brendan took advantage of the beautiful scenery. The white sand, the blue ocean and sea lions all over the place, it was a truly magical setting.
As we continued walking down through a path to reach the top of the Española Island, a little bird with a long beak and small body flew over our heads. It was a mockingbird. Christian Rueda, the tour guide, told us that this kind of subendemic bird adapted itself genetically and learned to drink fresh water. That’s why they are not afraid to approach our bags in order steal some water. We didn’t allow it, of course, because in Galápagos you can’t feed the animals. The mockingbird flies away but first he calls a little friend with sounds of the same kind. Together they played a little and soon they were gone.
After passing through an arid zone where there was apparently no animals, between some branches, we saw two pairs of albatrosses moving in sync. Team USA didn’t lost the opportunity to record it, we were witnessing their courtship ritual! The albatrosses are the largest seabirds in the world and their mating comes after they find their ideal partner. To achieve this they rehearse a kind of choreography, repeatedly, until they make it synchronised. They move their head up and down, they clash their beaks and look side to side. This courtship ritual is quite nice to witness because of the sync with which the birds move.
The visit to Española Island was about to end, but then we saw a young Galápagos hawk on a rock, eating a small bird. The hawk is the main predator of Galápagos and watching the hawk honor its name is a fascinating experience. Cautiously, Team USA approach the hawk with cameras and camcorders to record everything. Immediately, a smaller boat takes us to the top of the Española Island to practice snorkel. The ocean in Galápagos is known for its turquoise color, so diving and snorkelling there is amazing. After the guide explained us everything, we jumped into the water with our masks and wetsuits. Team USA went first with their GoPros. They couldn’t contain their excitement while watching the sea lions swimming so close to people, like friends. The different colours of the fish were also dazzling. All of Galápagos ecosystem is wonderful and it is impossible for locals and foreign not to be surprised by its beauty.
The next stop was the amazing Gardner Bay. We arrived on a wet landing. A few meters from the shore we got off the boat and walk on the whitest sand in the world. Touching it is feeling like you have flour on your hands: delicate, soft and easy to remove. Once there Team USA began working on their final projects.
The night came and there were still more adventures prepared for the next day.