10 April, 2020 20:26

When we dropped anchor at isla isabela we thought it would be for only a day. The protection here is limited and we have had northwest winds in the teens and twenties our whole stay with accompanying waves and swell.

But here we sit, three days later, all alone but for the occasional panga and what appears to be a small research outpost on this end of the island. No other cruising boats have come in nor have any park rangers come to shoo us away.

It is bouncy but the water is warm and we can swim and snorkel off the boat, enjoying the sealife here. Melissa and I followed a small school of eagle rays yesterday, their long, stingerless tails flowing behind them. And we found a cleaning station where trevally come to be cleaned by wrasses, angel fish and moorish idols. Melissa found a large sea turtle getting the same cleaning treatment by wrasses at a reef a little deeper out.

And the birds. The frigate birds in particular dominate the sky just now and they seem to wheel endlessly over the island like a cloud of prehistoric gnats. We can also see them nesting improbably in the shrubby trees on the island. With their six foot wingspan and split tail, they are elegant creatures once aloft but they look ridiculous sitting in their messy nests, a gangly chick peeking out from beneath them.

We have been relatively comfortable here because of the monas, two pinnacle islets just off the eastern side of the island. They give us a break from the waves and wind and there are good reefs for snorkeling nearby. It only gets uncomfortable in the wee hours when the wind dies back and then the boat turns to the waves. Then we roll most distressingly and discover all of the items that we forgot to secure before retiring for the evening.

We will stay for a few more days and then head to Mantanchen bay, about 42 miles southeast of here. The northwest winds should still be blowing to give us an easy ride there.

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