Tuesday 19 April 2016

Aboard MS Expedition: Earthshaking Welcome to Ecuador

Guide showing hiking options on Isla dela Plata
Frigatebirds fill the air above the island
Male Frigatebird displays

From on board G Adventures MS Expedition in Ecuador
Sunday 17 April, Monday 18 April 2016

"First the whole building shook, then I could hear the masonry and glass
falling," my excited roommate Geoff told me as I unpacked my bags in the
Hilton Colon, near the airport at Guayaquil.

My plane was already on approach to land when we were diverted at the last
minute to Quito. It was certainly a dramatic welcome to Ecuador!

The Hilton fared much better than some buildings and I soon learned that
hundreds of people were dead in the South American country after the biggest
quake in decades, a 7.8. But by the time I arrived, the debris inside the
hotel was swept up and the disco was back in full swing.

The following morning we set off as per schedule on our coach to meet G
Adventures MS Expedition at the port town of Salinas. Ecuador seems to take
this in its stride.

After some deft wrangling with authorities, caught up in the state of
emergency, we were able to gain permission to land at our first stop, Isla
de la Plata, a protected island just off the coast of Ecuador with an
ecology very similar to Galapagos with tottering Blue-Footed Boobies ambling
about the pathways and Frigatebirds gracing the skies over head.

With 97 per cent humidity and heat to match, groups set out to hike the
rough trails to see the nesting birds and endemic flora species.

Heading north, we crossed the equator about 9pm en route to Colombia and

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