On Sunday, our group had the day off and we decided to take a boat ride out to a small island off of the coast of Ecuador. The Isla de Plata or Island of Silver is about an hour and a half off of the shore and its known by the locals as the poor man’s Galapagos.
It fell off of the mainland during an earthquake so it has the same plant species as Ecuador, but the birds and other animals evolved differently and are pretty unique to the island. We saw blue footed boobies, Albatross and several other species. It was so cool because they just roamed the island and we could get really close to them. The hike around the island was about 3.5 miles and took several hours of uphill and downhill climbing, but the views made all the sweating totally worth it. At the peak of the little mountains you could see for miles and the coastline looked absolutely wonderful!
After we were done with the hiking, we all got to go snorkeling around the isla. There was plenty of coral and fish around the island that we could look at and the sun was shining, so everything was so colorful. A lot of people had never snorkeled before, so it was pretty funny seeing them all go crazy/freak out about it. Definitely an entertaining experience!
On the boat ride home, our driver decided to go whale watching because most of the humpbacks breed in the waters surrounding the Isla. I got to see my first whale!! There was a pack of 4 of them and one of them even jumped for us! It was absolutely amazing. I was getting goosebumps from watching them. We were about 100 yards from one of them, and the sheer size was absolutely astounding. I couldn’t believe my eyes. They were just absolutely enormous. We all tried to get pictures and every time we saw them come up to breathe, we all pointed and yelled. It never ceased to be exciting. I can´t wait until we actually get to work with them and tag them and such. It should be absolutely wonderful :)