Overnight we sailed from Espanola to Floreana, an island also known as Charles and Santa Maria. This island has a colourful history. It was once a penal colony and also home to a toothless dentist and a self-proclaimed empress! Our day begins with a pre-breakfast landing at a point called Punta Cormorant. The name is misleading as there has never been cormorants here but it is thought a ship called “Cormorant” ran aground on rocks nearby. Behind the beach there is a brackish lake with a few flamingos and we walk over a slight hill to a sandy beach known as a nesting site for green sea turtles.
After breakfast on board ship we reposition to a tiny offshore islet called Champion. We enjoy a panga ride, circumnavigating the islet. There is a lot to see including Galapagos sea lions, red-billed tropic birds, swallow tailed gulls and more, but we are particularly looking for our second species of mocking bird, the Floreana Mocking Bird. This species was driven to extinction by cats, rats and other introduced species on the main island but there are a few living on Champion Islet. We are lucky and we see them! Two mocking bird species seen, two to go!
Back on board the Islander we can enjoy a rest although keen snorkelers head off to discover what they can find. Our on-board video chronicler joins the snorkelers and takes underwater film footage so all of us can enjoy the view via the on-board TV projection at our evening recap.
Later this afternoon we visit Post Office Bay. There is an old wooden post barrel here. In whaling days, the sailors wrote letters to their families and left them for delivery back to the UK and Europe. Other ships would stop for provisions and water and pick up the letters if they were sailing back home. Letters were then hand delivered to their destination. Just for fun, the same system remains in force today. We therefore post our cards (without stamps!) and keep our fingers crossed they may turn up in due course. We also look through the cards and we manage to find quite a few UK addresses near our home towns. We will deliver!
After the post office excitement, we join a great panga ride around a sheltered bay, while others take a kayak trip with Jonathan. Panga guests enjoy wonderful views and spot plenty of wildlife including eagle rays and white tip reef sharks. Towards the end of the kayaking trip there is a kayak traffic jam in a small half-moon bay! Three double kayaks accidently gang up on Richard’s single kayak and, with help from the current and the breeze, he is beached on the rocks! (You can go off people, you know). Sometime later Richard returns to our mother ship!
All safely aboard, we enjoy drinks on the sky deck and watch the sunset over Floreana Island. Head waiter, Angel, provides seriously amazing gin and tonics. Does life get any better than this?!