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7. Floreana, P.O. Bay, Isolate Campego, Punta Cormorant

Never a dull moment. Never.

semi-overcast 75 °F

Day 7, Wednesday, June 22

Today’s agenda: Floreana, Post Office Bay, Islote Campego, Punta Cormorant.

But first, last night's dinner: Table for twelve (we have made friends). Delightful repartee, good food from Silver Origin chef Andrea Cruz, camaraderie among people for whom Galapagos is a bucket list event--all liberals, all traveled, different ages, different sexual orientations, different heritages, different everything except for a love of conviviality. Wish you were here.

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The sea was rocky overnight. The curtains swayed; we were rocked to sleep. At 6:00 this morning, we push the button to draw the drapes in our bedroom to find heavy overcast, a wet deck from overnight rain (it apparently only rains over the ocean and not, during this time of the year, over land) and, at our anchorage in Post Office Bay, water as smooth as glass. Then, the sun broke through the clouds revealing the beauty of the morning. The temperature is what it always is: 72 degrees.

All of that is juxtaposed with this: the U.S. Department of State posted this a few hours ago:

Alert: Expanded State of Emergency
Home | News & Events | Alert: Expanded State of Emergency
Date: June 21, 2022

Location: Nationwide (in Ecuador)

Event: The Government of Ecuador issued executive order 459 June 20, which expands the State of Emergency to six provinces: Chimborazo, Tungaruhua, Cotopaxi, Pichincha, Pastaza, and Imbabura provinces. Large numbers of demonstrators are now in the City of Quito, and there have been some reports of violence. The government’s order permits the armed forces and police to take actions necessary to maintain public order in the six provinces and suspends the right of assembly in public spaces for groups infringing on the rights of others. The order also continues a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. in the city of Quito. While the order includes an exception for travel to and from the airport, U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution traveling to the airport due to demonstrations and roadblocks. Please also consult Quito airport social media, airlines and travel websites for any changes to flight status or availability. We continue to urge you to remain vigilant, closely monitor the situation for updates, avoid road travel, and remain in place. U.S. Embassy and Consulate officials have also been instructed to avoid road travel and remain in place.

The news reports include this: During the afternoon and night of Tuesday, thousands of demonstrators were concentrated on Patria Avenue, El Ejido Park, as well as around the Catholic University, the National Polytechnic University, and the Salesian Polytechnic University in the north of Quito, where they were indiscriminately attacked by police forces with tear gas and water jets.

Unlike previous days, the protests intensified in Guayaquil, a coastal city traditionally controlled by right-wing parties that does not usually mobilize in support of Indigenous organizations. Thousands of people took to the streets and highways to demand the departure of President Lasso. In other provincial capitals the scenes were similar.

Independent news reports say that two protesters are dead in Quito, a fact that we cannot confirm. We are off to Guayaquil in 72 hours. It is said that "timing is everything," never a dull moment when one travels with me.

Floreana: 67 square mile island. It was here that humans first settled.

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Post Office Bay is home to a barrel used for letters and news exchanged by whalers and boats passing during the 1800’s. Still operational, this post office is labeled: “stampless.” It consists of an ancient looking wooden barrel—the original barrel was placed in 1793. The system worked like this: passing sailors would drop off a letter while checking to see if there was a previously placed letter destinated for where he was headed. He was expected to deliver it if he expected others to do the same for him.

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Today, tourists like us are encouraged to leave a postcard—no stamps please—with a clear address and a lot of patience. In exchange for that expectation, we are encouraged to dig through what is already there and take a few cards which are destined for where we live and deliver them—by hand—when we get home. “Putting a stamp on the card and mailing it is cheating.” The BBC ran a story in 2011 who took a handful of 22 cards which they ultimately delivered to people in 17 countries. It took them three years.

For me, after only a couple of minutes shuffling, I came across this piece of mail which I shall happily deliver next week. I left two pieces for people I love; we shall see if they ever achieve their appointed destinations. I am quickly shuttled back to the ship as, for me at least, as the cop would say while guarding a crime scene, "Keep moving; there is nothing to see here."PostOfficeBayStory.jpgOutgoingMail.jpgThis is the Post Office Beryl, er, Barrel.PostOfficeBarrelCU.jpg

Cormorants circled overhead, hunting for food. Nadia & Amanda, new good friends, wondered what the old guy with the long lens was taking pictures of.49eb08a0-f278-11ec-8433-ef65559cf36f.jpgCormorant.jpg60fcf2b0-f278-11ec-8433-ef65559cf36f.jpg

There are four green sand beaches in the world: Big Island Hawaii, Guam, Norway and here. Gardner Bay—named by CNN as one of the top 20 beaches in the world—is populated primarily by sea lions sleeping on the unique green sand. The color of the sand is due to a richness of olivine crystals, the remnants of eroded peridot gemstones. In the Middle Ages, peridot was said to provide healing powers, and was a cure for depression and an opening of the heart. Those functions are now most often—in my life—performed by diamonds. If you were born in August, peridot is your birthstone.

Flamingos and green sea turtles nest here between December and May. We just missed them.

The place is scarred by the remains of a failed Norwegian fish canning plant abandoned in the 1920s.

Nearby is Champion Islet, an ideal spot for deep water snorkeling. Some report seeing a rare bird here: the Floreana Mockingbird. Farther north is Punta Cormorant—named in the late 19th century for another British Navy ship, the HMS Cormorant. Flamingos call this place home as do White-cheeked Pintails, more Blue-Footed Boobies, Yellow Warblers and even Medium and Small Ground Finches.

As we prepared to disembark for my deep water snorkel, dolphins appeared. 4b0ccc50-f278-11ec-8433-ef65559cf36f.jpg4e324f40-f278-11ec-8433-ef65559cf36f.jpg4aea0210-f278-11ec-8433-ef65559cf36f.jpg4a330e20-f278-11ec-8433-ef65559cf36f.jpg

But the goal for the day was to snorkel with sea lions. One never knows what will be found beneath the surface; it's pot luck. Today was lucky.

Getting back and forth via Zodiac requires Silver Origin to lower its stern to create the marina. Thought you might enjoy seeing how that works:

Ahhhh.large_666ff4d0-f288-11ec-a2df-ff3ddfcafc24.jpg

Posted by paulej4 00:25 Archived in Ecuador

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Comments

Love the Musical Fish! Also, Great to have a such conviviality! (had to look that one up!). Stay safe and enjoy. CC And JC

by Chuckt

That sky is amazing!!!

by Nygirl56

I especially enjoyed the swimming sea lions. So calm. I actually think they lowered my blood pressure. 😊

by Becky Pruett

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