Thursday, 22 October 2009

Isla de la Plata and humpback whales

While staying on Ecuador´s famous surf beach Montanita, we made a day excursion to Parque National Machalilla which was only a few clicks down the road. We paid about $40 each. For that we got free transfers to and from the boat at Porto Lopez, paid admission fees to the park, lunch and use of snorkel equipment.

It was an awesome day out. The best part came first as we saw loads of humpback whale action on the way to the bird colony island (Isla de la Plata).

I had never been to a bird colony before. Because nobody inhabits the island the birds don´t see people as a threat. Rather than flying off when our group got close, the birds just ignored us and carried on with the important business of mating, fishing and defending their territory.

The guide spoke good English and was spot on with his advice so the tourists didn´t disrupt the birds. In our group there were about 20 people and I reckon I was the scruffiest one amongst them. Despite that I was the only one to show my appreciation to the guide by tipping him.

Isla de la Plata is sometimes referred to as the poor man´s Galapagos Islands. $40 instead of $2,000 - you bet. I´m sure the Galapagpos is unparalleled in it´s variety of flora and fauna but in this holiday we´ve noticed the huge smug factor of those who have done the islands. Their main joys in life are lording it over the peasants who haven´t been and smelling their own farts.

Only joking of course.

This is a humpback whale enjoying big splashing fun. They seemed oblivious to the presence of the boat as they frolliced in the waves. It was meant to be the mating season, but we didn´t witness any humpback penetration action, more like post coital play.

These are the delightfully named blue feet boobies. They nest on the ground and walk around in Charlie Chaplin fashion showing off their blue extremities.

This is a Nazca booby (I think).

This is the appropriately named magnificent frigate. To impress the females the man expends considerable energy puffing up the red bladder on his neck and making an odd screeching noise. Maybe not a turn on for everyone, but in my opinion more impressive than a new pair of trainers.

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