Sunday, August 4, 2013

Humpback Whales, Blue-Footed Boobies and Frigate Birds

We took a whale watching tour off of the cost of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean.  June through September the whales are teaching their young how to surface and dive as well as mating before they head south towards the Antarctic.  The Island of La Plata is referred to as the Poor Man's Galopagos. Sounds good but it turned out to be more of a bird sanctuary than what Darwin saw.  The boat ride out to the island took about an hour and a half while we watched the whales, then we parked to do some snorkeling off the coast of La Plata.  After snorkeling we hiked the island for three hours before heading back to the mainland.   We saw a lot of whales splashing around, unfortunately they were pretty far away and the ocean was pretty rough that day so it was hard to get pictures but we managed.  These were humpback whales that we saw.

        Getting ready to board.

                                                  Overloaded?  Not in Ecuador.

          Male,Female and baby whale

 We were supposed to go snorkeling after the hike but they put it before the hike which meant walking around in wet clothes all day so we stayed onboard.  We still got a few pictures.

I held the camera off the side, underwater for this shot and the next.

            These guys were hanging around waiting for somebody to take their picture.

                  Some sea turtles showed up
          Another underwater shot with the camera

Next the hike on the island of La Plata

          Blue-Footed Boobies
        Top one is female, bottom one is male. You can tell by the pupils.  Males pupils are smaller than females.  The males lift their feet one at a time and spread their wings in a mating dance ritual.  This island as well as the Galapogos are where they mate before leaving the islands.

           The birds aren't very afraid of people.
  This is a Nazca Boobie family
These are called Frigate birds, the other birds nesting and mating on the island.
Male frigate birds strutting their stuff. Puffing up trying to impress the ladies.
There were thousands of these frigate birds
                   That ain't salt all over the cliffs

After the hike, we ate lunch they provided on the boat, then opened up the twin 150 HP Motors and headed directly back to the dock on a spine jarring hell ride that arrived in about 45 minutes.  Off the boat and down the road we went.  End of story.  

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