Isla de la Plata

/ 2013-04-30 / 20:34:51

It was the first day in Yunguilla that we came up with the idea that Lena and I should take the opportunity to go to Isla de la Plata. As I'm sure I've mentioned earlier we'd been wanting to go there since January, but with our schedule it's been impossible. Now we we're supposed to stay in Yunguilla until Saturday, but since there weren't that much for the two of us to do there this was the perfect time. So early on Wednesday morning we took a bus to Cuenca where we did some super-speed sightseeing before continuing to Guayaquil and then Puerto Lopez. It was already 9 o'clock when we arrived so we checked into the first hostel we found and told them that we would like to go out to the island the next morning. No problem! At breakfast we were approached by a guy who booked us for a tour with some American tourists.
The boat ride out to the island took a bit over an hour. I hadn't even noticed before how much I missed the ocean! Open water, clear sky, fresh breeze, it was simply wonderful :)
When we arrived our guide Enrique took us to the colony of the Magnificent Frigatebirds (Fregata magnificens). Some if the males we're displaying for the females, they have a red throat pouch on their throat that they inflate. It looks just like they have a red balloon attached to their throat. Standing there in the middle of the colony was truly a dream come true, such magnificent birds!
Isla de la Plata is known for being the breeding ground of three species of boobys; Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii), Nazca Booby (Sula granti) and Red-footed Booby (Sula sula). The last one is quite rare and we would have loved to see it, but unfortunately the guides never take you to that part of the island. Same goes for the Nazca Booby, but I was lucky enough to spot one from the boat, sitting really nicely on the cliffs. The Blue-footed one is much more common and we saw it everywhere. On our way to the Frigatebird colony a juvenile wandered out of a bush and joined us on the path. It's the end if the breeding season now and these last chicks are sometimes neglected by their parents. This gorgeous guy was simply hungry.
Another dream bird that we got to see was the Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus), a beautiful white seabird with a long tale and bright red beak.
Before going back to Puerto Lopez we got some time for snorkeling around the boat. The water wasn't very clear but I could still see some really nice angel fishes.
I would have liked to stay longer at the coast, one day wasn't nearly enough, but we had to get back. I hope that I'll have the opportunity to go to the Caribbean coast while I'm in Mexico. Which by the way is less than a week from now! On saturday I'm taking the bus to Guayaquil and then all of Sunday will be spent on airplanes and in different airports. After that, a new phase begins!">">">" class="image">">">">" class="image">


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