Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day 17 - Floreana Island

Today we got a chance to hike on a different island: Floreana Island. We started our day with a wet landing on the beach, then a short walk on the beach to a "post office."  In the old days, when ships would pass through this part of the Pacific Ocean and stop on the island, they would drop off letters in a barrell.

They would look through the other letters in the barrel and take the ones that were close to where they lived, and hope another sailor would stop by to deliver their mail. We got a chance to drop some post cards at the "post office" and look through the mail to deliver cards if they are close to our homes.

We walked to a cave that leads to the ocean. It was completely dark, so students used the flashlight on their phones to know where to walk. We went down in groups of 5 so we would not be walking all over each other, and most groups went all the way to where the ocean water was entering the cave - quite cold!

After all of the groups were finished, we walked back to the beach to pick up the zodiak to the boat for lunch. While we were moving to our next site, we were joined by a group of dolphins playing in the water! It was an awesome sight to watch them swim beside the boat. We made it to our afternoon excursion: deep water snorkeling. We snorkeled around Devil's Crown, and underwater volcanic crater. Everybody tried it, and did well going around the outside of the crater. However, once we were inside, the current was getting very strong. No matter how much we tried to move, we could not manage to move further. We saw star fish, anemones, an octopus, lots of different types and colors of fish and many more creatures. Quite breath-taking in every way.

After a quick change into dry clothes, we went for another hike on the other side of Floreana - Cormorant Point. We saw a large flock of flamingos again, bigger than our guide has ever seen in one place.

We saw several sea turtle nests, most of them still having the track from the mother.  We walked to a different beach and hung out there to play by the rocks and take some pictures.

Back on the boat,  we had the chance to watch an amazing sunset!

Since the sky was so clear, we also laid on the deck to watch the stars. Most of the students had never seen the Southern Cross constellation, since it is only visible in the southern hemisphere.  There is even an "app" to point your phone to the sky and it will tell you what constellations you are looking at. Pretty cool!

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