17th August – Wednesday
Dad’s alarm woke us at 4.45 as it had not been reset from the previous morning. After looking on the bedside table and all over the floor he exclaimed, “Ah, there it is!” and turned it off. It was on his wrist!
After breakfast at Jimmy’s we headed down to Turtle bay. We found some bemusing tracks, but a little detective work led us to believe that they belonged to crabs which were hiding in holes in the sand. We soon saw one leave its hole and scuttle across the sand only to be caught by Oli. My brother soon regretted his catch as it nipped his finger, drawing blood. A bit further along the beach we came across a semi-spherical object about 9″ in diameter. It was slightly yellow in colour and had a hole through its centre which was grey around its edges. “What’s that?” asked Oli. “Well, it’s some sort of sea anemone” explained Dad. Turning it over revealed that it was the top cut off a boat’s fender!
We found the tree under which we had sat three days earlier. I went for a swim while Oli lazed and Dad read Mark Twain. I found an occupied crab hole at the far end of the beach and, determined to photograph the crab leaving its hole, fetched the camera and sat writing up these notes while I waited. No luck.
The woods at the back of the beach allowed me to get some good photographs of a heron and a lava gull. There are only 400 lava gulls left in the world – all on the Galápagos. Returning to the crab hole only served in bringing me the chance to photograph a pelican which was, stupidly, fishing leaves out of the water and spitting them out.
Oli and I went for a stroll up the peninsular and found a colony of marine iguanas. We tried to find a route through the mangroves. Oli succeeded. I failed and returned to the beach. Dad went for a walk on the peninsular and returned before Oli.
We went back to the west end café for a late lunch at 2.30. Oli and I tried the arroz marinero again while Dad tried the sopa marinero. None of it was very good but it served a purpose. No postres, so we had a lousy chocolate bar each from a shop and returned to the cabin. I went up to the bookshop and surprise, Alexandra actually had the book ready for me! I had intended to go back to Turtle Bay to explore where Oli had been. He’d seen many more iguanas, a seal and had actually got really close to some blue footed boobies. I would very much have liked to photograph these birds close up. In the end I decided to go and buy a postcard of one, and also bought a card showing a frigate bird with its sack inflated. I spent the rest of the afternoon writing up these notes on Jimmy’s patio.
Fresh fish was served to us at Jimmy’s at 7 o’clock sharp. It was excellent once more, but the beer was cack, so Dad, anticipating this, bought a bottle of Chilean white wine. It was also cack but was made more palatable by adding ice. After dinner we were invited to share a celebratory chocolate cake with Jill, a retired schoolteacher from Cincinnati, Ohio. She was celebrating 6 years in South America. She brought along her 19 year old friend from Quito, Pauline who only looked about 12. She was a seamstress. The cake was excellent and the conversation was very interesting. We learnt about the largest cashew tree in the world which is in Natal in Brazil. Also, that each upside down, pear shaped fruit produces only a single nut. That’s why they’re so expensive.