Puerto Lopez is a scruffy little fishing village on the Pacific coast of Ecuador. The port was busy every day bringing in a fresh haul of fish, a large amount of which were carried only a few metres to be cleaned, cooked and eaten moments after coming to shore. Blue Footed Boobies sat nearby to pick up the scraps.
At the weekend people flooded in from the surrounding towns to play on the beach and then party in the evening. For a small village it packs quite a punch, but the main draw for us was the Humpback whale watching and island nearby known as the ´Poor Man’s Galapagos´. My excitement was mixed with a tiny bit of trepidation as, by some strange coincidence, I also happened to be reading Moby Dick.
At the first opportunity we jumped on a boat to try and spot a whale. Barely ten minutes into our boat ride, a fellow tourist alerted us to a whale surfacing in the distance, but the captain just sped on leaving us a little disheartened. However, our own captain Ahab obviously knew his Humpbacks as soon we were surrounded by enormous* whales leaping out of the water, splashing their long fins and generally larking about as though no-one was watching. To say we were delighted is an understatement.
We could have watched the whales all day but we had to move on to the island. We saw some turtles in the bay and a variety of sea birds on the island, however, I have to confess it was quite an anti-climax after the leaping whales. But to be fair, anything short of sloths juggling with fire was likely to seem unimpressive after the spectacle we had just witnessed.
*Measuring up to 52ft and weighing between 30 and 50 tons!