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Date: 13 Apr 2011 23:14:05
Title: San Cristobal and Albatroses 01:26.15S 90:22.86W

San Cristobal and Bonaire
How lovely to see our friends on Bonaire again.  The kids have been anticipating this reunion like Christmas and were up at 5am looking out to the horizon to see Bonaire. 
   
We hung around the anchorage for a few days and the kids variously beached, ate, played, visited tortoise sanctury again, got over excited generally.  Easter came early this year, and we had a 'roast-up' with all the trimmings.  Much laughter and loads of stories of the things the two boats had been doing since we had last spent time together an unbelievable 5 months previously.
    Lobos Marinos (Sea Lions) lounging about as usual
 
Up the mast to check aloft gave the chance to get a great panoramic of the anchorage
Checking out was a disater, as with most things bureacratic in Ecuador, and our agent, Bolivar, had to give the immigration man a 'tip' of $60 to get our passports back, as they said we had left Ecuador on 4-March and had no right to be in Galapagos.
Then it was time to go and we set of for Isabella minus one Zinnia, but plus one Fin.  We planned to head round the South side of Isla Espanionla to see if we could spot an albatros as we had been told that the mating season had just started.
 
Shortly after leaviong at 6am we saw a manta ray jump clean out of the water and do a somersault, not once, but three times about 100m from the boat.  Rather than just being a glimpse in the corner of ones eye, we were looking squarely at it.  Quite an amazing sight as these Manta rays are huge, maybe 2 or 3m across from tip to tip, so they make quite a spash. No chance of getting a photo of that one though.
 Boys make a camp
 
As we rounded the Eastern end of Espaniola the boat became as if full of Welsh twitchers, binocular and camnera at the ready.  Wow, what a triumph to finally see an albatros in the distance. Another tick in the box, and other featherd friends as well.  Boobies (both blue footed and masked), petrels, skipping birds, tropic birds. 
    
 
But then, as we rounded the corner there was a flock of birds bobbing around in front of us.  We could not believe it.  There were 100+ Waved Albatrosses right in front of us, and we sailed straight through the flock causing them to lift up and set off in their ungainly fashion by running on the water, and then lauching themselves int he air, their long narrow wings bending into the most graveful shapes.  For the next couple of hours we sailed through many flocks of these extraordinary birds.  In a life when one is lucky to see even one albatros we feel our bag is complete.
 
Run . . .  Flap . . .  Take off . . .
 
                                                Tropic bird takes off beside the boat
 
Cosmo with Albatros in front . . . 
 
The coastline scenery was magnificent and majextic, made slightly more so in the knowledge that we weren't really meant to be there.  The Galapagos parks authrority I am sure woudl not approve of boats mowing down their precious wildlife
   

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