Dana Tomlinson: Day 25, March 25, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Monday, March 25, 2002

Lat: 1°S
Long: 91°W
Seas: 3-5 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: light airs
Air Temp: 90-81°F

This day started and ended the same way: bittersweet. In the morning, we watched the Ka’imimoana sail out of the harbor without us. It was scheduled to leave at 9am, so we were perched on my balcony with binoculars. I noticed that the RHIB was missing from the boat, and not too long afterward, the RHIB left the pier and headed toward the ship. Was it more paperwork to be cleared with the authorities? A last minute run to the hardware store for more fishing lures? We could only speculate. But shortly after they returned and the RHIB was back on board, the anchor was weighed and the ship slowly started to move away from us. We watched the ship sail until it was out of sight and wished them fair skies and following seas.

Dr. Mike was also leaving Puerto Ayora this day to go to Guayaquil (on Ecuador’s coast) to visit their counterpart to NOAA. So, we shared his taxi to the airline office in town and bid him farewell as he started off on the long trip to the airport. We took care of our travel arrangements for our departure the following day and then went back to the Red Mangrove, where we had Mariano take us out of their small boat to do some ocean exploration. We traveled to a very small uninhabited island in the middle of the harbor to snorkel with the sea lions and the Pacific green sea turtles. The water was warm – no wetsuit needed (hint – don’t forget to put sunscreen on your back as I did!). The sea life was abundant: numerous sea lions, many varieties of fish, coral, anemones, urchins, turtles. We swam for about 45 minutes there, then headed over to another side of the island where we could see the lava walls from the ocean. They housed blue footed boobies and many marine iguanas.

We tied up the boat to a pier and walked to a salt pond. As soon as one left the ocean, the air temperature seemed to go up 15 degrees. We hiked over rough lava rocks to a crevasse that held water that was much more fresh than sea water as the salt had been evaporated out of it. It was heavenly to swim in this cool water on such a warm day. We then hiked over to the Delfin hotel and enjoyed their pool – as warm as a bathtub. Mariano took us back to the hotel, where we washed up, and enjoyed our last meal in the Galapagos.

Very bittersweet.
Til tomorrow,
🙂 Dana

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