Day 2 morning

The morning began with a 7:00 am breakfast.   By 8:00 we were on the pangas with our gym shoes and camera bags for a dry landing on the lava rocks.

Part of the path was smooth and easy to walk on and part had loose lava rocks.

picture of people walking over the smooth section of lava

Our walk brought us to a lake quite a bit below us with a few flamingos.

I don't know what it is about flamingos - the surprise of their beautiful salmon-pink feathers, their awkward spindly legs, their height, the way their necks curl...but something about them makes them so magnificent to watch.  We got there with the sun high so there were lots of harsh shadows to try to play with but just sitting on the lava rocks and watching them go about their day was fascinating!

people sitting on the lava rocks watching the flamingos below
flamingo swimming
portrait of a flamingo with beautiful feathers
curly cue neck of a pink flamingo

We stayed awhile to photograph the flamingos and then walked to the other side of the lake to get a different view point.

I was not the first one to fall as I stepped onto a loose rock and it turned under my foot and my foot turned with it and I landed hard on my butt - saving the cameras of course.

It stung a LOT and I was wondering if I broke it...but after a few seconds it wasn't so bad and I was able to get up and gingerly walk on it. 

Thankfully, one of the ladies on the trip - an avid hiker saw me go down and helped me over the rough spots the rest of the way as my foot was very unstable.

view of the lake with a few flamingos

The view that cost me having a stable foot the rest of the trip...

There were more flamingos closer towards us from this view point -- the lake wrapped around the bush on the left but they were still below us.

After we finished photographing the flamingos we walked a bit further to pick up the pangas at a different location.    

After getting into the pangas, we went for a short panga ride through the mangrove area.   There were a lot of pelicans and other birds and the water was very clear.

Pelican portrait

We returned to the catamaran and then got ready for snorkeling.   I wasn't sure what to expect - the weather was warm so I assumed the water would be too -- oops.   I knew that was wrong when they started fitting us for our wetsuits... 3 mm.   They told us the water was 63-65 degrees.    Definitely NOT tropical!

I did bring some wetsuit booties since my feet tend to get really cold.   Back on the pangas smooshed into wetsuits and armed with go pros, masks, snorkels, and fins for the first snorkel of the trip.  I was seriously hoping I wouldn't be mistaken for a sea lion or a whale in the wetsuit.

When we got to our location, they instructed us to swing our legs over the other side and slide / jump in.   When my face hit the water it was such a shock.   I didn't hold onto the rope the first time I jumped in so I went straight under and boy was that a wake up call to cold water!    I caught my breath after that shock and then I really didn't want to put my face in the water again -- but there were TURTLES and fishes and plants and .... so the face went in the frigid water and then ... peace.

I don't know what it is about turtles - they aren't exceptionally graceful creatures - but they just bring out this intense feeling of peace.   The idea of slow down and smell the roses and don't be in a hurry.  

Watching these huge sea turtles was mesmerizing.    They didn't bother about us - didn't even seem to realize that we were there - just going about their own business swimming and eating and going up to the surface to breath.

What an extraordinary experience.     As as certified diver (albeit I haven't done that in about 20 years) I have seen turtles on occasion - but never this many and never this close.   A really amazing memory.   The video below doesn't do the experience justice.

Be sure to view the photo gallery from this trip.    It is a work in progress as I go through and find my favorite images to share with you.   Some are the same as in this article and some are new and not included!

As always, I would love any questions or comments !

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