Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Aboard MS Expedition: Isla dela Plata - Tiny island with a silver lining.

From on board G Adventures MS Expedition in Ecuador
Tuesday 19 April 2016

Expedition cruising is all about making discoveries and this little landmass
a few kilometres off the coast of Ecuador is one such example.

Ecologists and naturalists delight in the study of seabirds in an
environment not unlike the Galapagos Islands, several hundreds of kilometres
farther to the west. The magnificent frigate birds and delightful
blue-footed boobies nest here in abundance and are visited by many more
migratory species including the majestic waved albatross and tiny Tennessee
warbler.

Part of the coastal Machalilla National Park that embraces the town of
Puerto Lopez, Isla de la Plata and its fragile population enjoys the same
protection. Visitors can enjoy any number of guided hikes around the island
to see the nesting sites or snorkel in the waters where, if you're lucky,
the giant oceanic manta rays sometimes pass by.

The human history is just as fascinating and it is this that gives rise the
island's name, which in English translates to 'Island of Silver'. One
character connected to the islands is Sir Frances Drake. The knighted pirate
(or privateer, if you prefer) is said to have hidden great quantities of
looted treasure from the Spanish galleons as they made their way back to the
royal court of Spain from Peru. While small trinkets have been discovered,
the 'mother lode' of treasure, if it exists, is yet to be unearthed.

Images:

* Map showing location of Isla de la Plata
* Hikers climb to nesting sites along 'Fragatas' trail.
* Male frigate bird displays distinctive pouch

The writer is travelling as a guest of G Adventures [www.gadventures.com]




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