Hood Island, located on the southeasternmost point of the Galapagos archipelago, is a place for deep and conscientious exploration. In order to make the most of our visit, activities started right at sunrise. A group of us went kayaking in a blue sea crowded with sea lions, marine iguanas, and sea turtles; another group of early risers disembarked at the beach in Gardner Bay for a stretching session led by our wellness specialist Juliana. We all (early risers and late sleepers) got together for a great breakfast followed by more kayaking, Zodiac driving lessons (for our group of Global Explorers), beach time and snorkeling in nearby Gardner Islet.
Beach time has its own set of characteristics when you are in Galapagos. The soft white sand and turquoise waters fascinated all beachgoers. A pod of utterly unafraid Galapagos sea lions was basking in the sun, and a group (plagiary, echo, exactness, or ridicule) of Hood Island mockingbirds flew above us trying to find any water they could get from our bottles. By lunchtime everybody was already tired but with a large smile on their faces.
After a short break and talks on photography and human history, it was time to explore Punta Suarez, in the westernmost part of Hood. This place is normally a hardcore hiking spot with two and a half miles of rocky terrain, and full to the brim with wildlife. The Galapagos National Park authorities closed the area to hikes, but authorized us to explore it from the Zodiacs. The big swells impressed everybody, but the large collection of seabirds and iguanas made the visit well worth it. A humpback whale — one of the very last to start the migration to Antarctica — was there to say goodbye, spouting as much water as the Punta Suarez blowhole.