I am averaging 11 pages of journalling each day, so you're only getting highlights. The rest I'll keep to use in my next novel. Or something.
Overnight, we proceed one island west, to Floreana, anchor up as dinner ends, and the ship starts moving, swaying, listing, tipping to this side and that, or so it feels. I can hear the iron beams creaking against the swell and it hits me suddenly that against the power of the Pacific Ocean, nothing else stands a chance. Out here, water trumps everything.
I barely stumble to breakfast to wake up before snorkeling in the morning, but I wrestle bravely into my wet suit and add little boots and a vest (thank you, Aunt Sue, thank you thank you thank you). Passengers ask me to do a showy dive off the edge of the zodiac, but in my flippers I don't feel comfortable. Maybe next time.
The sun is out today, warming the surface, and either because of that, or my yesterday's experience, or the vest adding insulation, today it is easier for me to breathe. I'm the second person off the boat, and I set out.
The sea walls (I have learned that, although they are covered in coral, they are volcanic rock walls and therefore notably not a reef. Oops) seem more vibrant and colorful than yesterday's; more ish, more sea lions, more waves, more. The highlights, for me, are two purple octopods and a sea lion pup that stares me in the face, mere inches away. The schools of fish here live within the rhythm of the waves, in and out with each surge of water. They are a riot of living confetti, half swimming half floating. Among them, I use only my fins for steering and float with the fish, trusting the water not to crash me into the rocks. My trust, it turns out, is not misplaced; the great Pacific Ocean is kind for once. (Ken cut himself in five places on the coral yesterday, crushed by an errant wave).
Even the bull sea lions, protecting their harems, are laid back today, seemingly unthreatened by teh order of the day, which is human observation. We have been warned about their territorial agression, but they display only barking to scare Jessica away from their harem. One, even, swims directly under us and passes by without a fuss. This is before the curious juvenile comes over to make friends.