(Above: a frigatebird strutting his stuff. The bird life is wonderful—clever little sparrows hopped right up to me whenever I opened my water bottle, and we even spotted a few penguins!)
But read Mike D'Orso's Plundering Paradise first. I had the privilege of working on this book while I was at Harper, and I reread it during our trip—it's an engrossing, very personable travelogue touching on the myriad environmental and economic problems wrought by tourism, immoral/illegal fishing practices, and government corruption, all through the eyes of island natives, scientists, and other long-term residents.
Anyway, without further ado, here's my little slide show, with a few journal excerpts thrown in.
Tuesday, 21 August 2007: "Just got back from our second morning of snorkeling—swam behind a sea turtle for maybe half a minute, saw a few sea urchins and a big indigo-colored fish, then a huge sea lion towards the end. We heard stories of sea lions mistaking people in wet suits for their own species, and even attacking. Yesterday morning I saw a small ray and a wider variety of fish—several schools (makes you feel so serene, watching them swimming in unison); a few pale medium-sized fish streaked with pastel pink, blue, and green; and a larger blue fish lying still beneath a rock."
Thursday, 23 August 2007: "Been having a tremendously good time—never again will I be able to speak the words "he peed in Barbara Bush's coochie" to a family of Jehovah's Witnesses..."
Thursday, 23 August 2007 (later): "Watched a sea lion in labor (for nearly an hour!) Came back from our walk and found mom and pup in the same spot on the beach near the pier. Blood on the sand. Saw waved albatrosses doing their mating dance, clacking beaks like a furious game of hockey. Stunning cliff views...
"Horribly rough passage from Santa Cruz to Santa Fe this afternoon—newcomers were all seasick, and we all felt pretty queasy too. But I laid down and listened to Elbow. Proud of myself for not puking. Delicious hot chocolate served after snorkeling."