Tuesday morning, we found the water at Cousin’s Rock to be decidedly colder than the Northern Islands, my dive computer said it was 70°, but we know that it lies! The viz was worse here as well, but this was a wonderful macro dive, with Sea Horses, Frog Fish, Sea Stars and many other wonderful invertebrates that are unique to the region. For our second dive, I finally gave up on my dead camera (which by now had two broken handles, a dead controller and a broken focusing ring), and borrowed a housed video camera. Having never shot video before, we found my raw footage to be somewhat nauseating (as in sea sick), but I had a blast taping the Sea Lions cavorting around us as well as an old curmudgeonly turtle that stuck his head into a hole so we wouldn’t bother him.
Snorkel with Penquins
We took a trip out in the tenders in search of penguins, and spotted one or two, which would basically swim away as soon as we entered the water. Then the panga driver would wave and say, “They’re over here”. After several marathon swims across what seemed like miles of ocean, I eventually caught up with a half-dozen penguins that were feeding on bait fish, and managed to get some good video of these immensely fascinating creatures. They are as incredibly nimble and fast underwater as they are comical on land.
Bartoleme Island is relatively young, and is mostly a large pile of lava that has flowed from a volcano (and several false cones). We visited the island late Tuesday afternoon, climbing the long set of steps leading up to the top of the peak, which offers nice views of the surrounding islands. There isn’t much life on the island, or much reason for really seeing it. If you get the option (which we didn’t), skip this one and just go diving instead.
Wednesday morning, we made our third land excursion to South Plaza Island, which is littered with Sea Lions, Marine and Land Iguanas as well as nesting Gulls along the Southern Cliffs. This was a nice walk, and my favorite land excursion. After our excursion we went snorkeling with the Sea Lions, which kept me entertained for hours with their playful antics. I brought the underwater camera along and was having so much fun that I snapped away over 150 frames of the sea lions. Most of them are bad pictures (I like to try to blame in on the broken housing, not the photographer) , but hey, it was just so much fun. They had to drag me back into the boat (especially when the big male came by, grunting and blowing bubbles at me).