We went to the Malecón to meet our boat, and the other people who were joining us that day. There was a couple from Costa Rica and three couples from Argentina, plus the boat captain and the tour guide. It was a lively bunch and everyone was really friendly. At one point a gentleman from Argentina broke out in song and serenaded us all. They were very gracious about our Spanish, and spoke English with Lisa, Miranda’s mom.

We motored out about 20 minutes until we came to a spot where sea lions were playing in the waves. Waves broke on shallow rocks and it formed a kind of water slide when the swells retreated, on which the sea lions were sliding and swimming. They were so adorable to watch, and I could have stayed there all morning.

Next we went over to a cove where sharks are known to hang out. Unfortunately there were no sharks that day because the currents were not right. The rest of the group did some snorkeling, but I did not. I wanted to, but there just wasn’t enough time to take photos and participate. And I wanted to take photos.

From there we went to the Love Canal. There were black cliffs and turquoise water and again the sky was so blue it felt unreal. I guess the Love Canal is the local version of lover’s lane, and it is said that two enter but three come out. It was painfully romantic, even under a scorching sun.

We left the boat and hiked to the other side of the island to a spot called Playa de los Perros, or Dog Beach. It is so named because the crabs there have hairy legs, giving them the nickname of dogs. All of the island (we were still on Santa Cruz) is made up of volcanic rock, and the soil looks like so many flower beds in the states that have been filled with lava rock purchased at Lowe’s. On our hike, the soil was much more orange than usual, and contrasted brilliantly with the blue sky.

Once we arrived at the beach, the sand seemed to be a mix of the white sand that is everywhere and the very orange volcanic rock in the area. There were still the black rocks, and the marine iguana that blend in so well on them. The water was unbelievable, again, and the waves fascinated me.

We then went to the Canal de las Tintoreras, where we again hoped to see sharks, but no joy. The view was majestic, with dusty-green candelabra cacti and bright green mangroves, black rocks, white clouds starkly contrasted by deep blue skies, and waves of jewel-toned blues. I did not care that there were no sharks.

We then walked back past the Love Canal to a pier where we re-boarded the boat and headed for Las Grietas. The cove we pulled into made all the other sea views pale – the water was intensely beautiful, the mangroves lush and full, the houses splendid in their opulence. As we hiked away from the water, the landscape quickly changed to a desert-like scene, with orange soil, green cactus, and scrubby trees. There was some type of water holes, ponds, or perhaps tidal pools. The color was muddy and they were as unappealing as the cove’s water was inviting. Sluggish and brackish with barely any water, they had the appearance of a cesspool. And yet they were full of bird life. I saw cranes and herons, pelicans and frigates.

We hiked on until we came to Las Grietas. This area is defined by cliffs and a brackish yet clear water that seeps in through the volcanic rock. It is clean because the rocks filter it, but it is a mix of fresh and salt water. The others were going swimming and snorkeling. I had wanted to swim, but there appeared to be no secure place to put my camera, so I decided to hang out and take photos. Unfortunately that day the area was also defined by an uncountable number of wasps who seemed hell bent on torturing me. So I stayed long enough to photograph Julie and Miranda cliff jumping, then I made my way back to the boat.

As they snorkeled, swam and jumped, I spent my time photographing the birds along the way, and then the cove and the boats bobbing back and forth on their ties, as well as one house in particular that turned out to belong to the Italian Consulate. I am now considering the diplomatic corp.

Our day finally ended back at the Malecón. We walked back to the hotel, window-shopping along the way. Before coming here, Discovery or NatGeo was playing a three-hour documentary on the Galapagos. The image that stands out the most is one of a woman surrounded by sea lions on a beach, taking photos. I want to be that woman. That is the one thing I wanted so badly to see but that I was unable to do. We had heard that the sea lions often hung out on German Beach, so we decided after a rest we would head that way. That will be my next post. For now, enjoy these photos of Day 3.

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