This morning we visited Las Bachas, Spanish for ‘barges’. Before us, a long soft, white sand beach, indented with turtles nests and the disorientated tracks of hatchlings attempting to find their way to the water to avoid prey.
Beyond the mounds of nest, is another brackish lagoon featuring a splash of pink. A small flamboyance of the Greater Flamingo strode eloquently. Eight of them dancing in the scummy water, churning up the bottom with their tapping feet, in search for shrimp.<
They edged closer and closer to us until they were only a couple of metres from the shore. So beautiful, so majestic, so pink. We sat and watched them for around 40 mins, just taking in their beauty before venturing back to the soft sands where some of the group attempted to snorkel, but the sea was chopping and visibility extremely poor.
Following lunch, we jumped in for a deep sea snorkel around the island of Bartoleme. The sea was rough, the visibility, just ok. The parrot fish seemed to be on steroids and the star fish in vast numbers as they are scattered across the ocean floor.
A giant ray flapped quietly under a nearby rock. Not sure what type it was, but it was extremely dark in colour and the size of a small car.
A white tipped reef shark zig zagged by and in its trail, a small excited penguin zooms by chasing it. We followed its bubble trails until it was out of site.
“Turtle!” someone screams from the surface, but by the time we reached them, it was long gone. Another three or four reef sharks swam by. One seemed friendly and came quite close to us. Perhaps curious. Once again, vast schools of Yellow Tailed Surgeon fish travelled together and fat colourful sea cucumbers lazed on the sandy bottom.
The odd chocolate chip star fish appeared now and then and fat puffer fish bob by awkwardly.
Following our snorkel, we disembarked the pangas on the shores of Bartolome where it seemed like we were walking on the moon. This young island is inhospitable to most plants and animals.
We climbed 380 stairs which lead us to the summit of a once active volcano.
Along the boardwalk as we ascended, we paused to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones.
From the summit, the view allowed us to gaze out across the island for a sprawling panoramic vista of the island with the most photographed pinnacle rock, an eroded tuff cone.
The water was a stunning turquoise from the top and we could see the rim of a submarine crater.
The sun starts to dip and lunar landscape illuminates to eerie golden browns and sun-kissed oranges. The rock formations create shadows and the wind picks up.
We return to the ship for dinner.
Crooked Compass travelled with Ecoventura on board MY Eric.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.