We awake early ready to go. Breakfast is simple but we know we have snacks packed and are prepared for a so-so lunch – just in case.
Just about everything on this island involves travelling the length of the island back through the highlands which makes sleeping on the bus easy when it is early morning.
We arrive at the pier and get our life jackets on and then shuttle in a zodiac out to the boat in two loads. We are allowed to go anywhere on the boat. The Altamar is a 30-45 ft boat with a maximum capacity of 16-20 passengers. The only thing that is so-so is the passage to the deck which involves a very narrow ledge and holding onto a bar. When the boat is not moving no worries.
We set off right away towards South Plaza Island. We sit ourselves on the deck and meet a dutch family. Watching the coastline and the difference in topography is very relaxing.
Magpie finds his sea legs to the frustration (safety based) of the crew, our guide Phillipe and myself – even though he is wearing a life vest.
It takes approximately 1 hour to get to South Plaza. It is now mid morning and quite bright and warm as we shuttle over to the island. Before we can get out of the boat we have to move some sea lions by clapping our hands. The crabs – orange and black – are everywhere.
The landscape is stark but beautiful with the different colors from the vegetation and the ground. There is a specific path that the park requires you to follow. The only time a deviation of the path occurs is when it is blocked by the animals, then you must walk around them giving them space at the same time.
The panoramic views from anywhere on the island is breathtaking. The geology is colorful dry and sharp. Along the path we see many different species that our guide explains to us in both english and spanish. The walk around the island takes approximately an hour and half. The sun is quite intense and some people are obviously burnt. There is no shade here to rest under so you must have a good hat and either sunscreen or loose long clothing to protect yourself.
After lunch the boat heads to a snorkelling area in a secluded channel. Unfortunately the snorkelling is from the boat and not a beach. Our guide takes us in the zodiac into the channel to find a shallow area. We were hoping that I could touch bottom and support Magpie. As it turns out the water is deeper than we thought as every time I slip over the side it is over my head. The water is so incredibly clear. The dutch family came over and took Magpie for a spin around the water. We do get to see a small shark and a baby sea lion playing amongst the swimmers. The water is surprisingly cool but refreshing from the intense sun.
After our swim it turns out the chef has made popcorn without butter for a snack. The kids are very pleased.
The return ride is quiet and a little cool as a storm approaches. When we dock the storm has stopped for us to get on the bus back to our hotel.
We finish the day with a walk to the shore and watch pelicans and sea lions vie for the fish bits from the fish mongers and have dinner at a very nice restaurant with a nice assortment of all types of foods.