Back in the boat, we headed to Isla Choros, about 30 minutes away.  Landing on the island was prohibited, so we had to do all our sightseeing from the boat.  Isla Choros is even more bleak that Isla Damas.  Gun metal gray rocks shoot straight from the surprisingly clear turquoise water.  The water was so clear, the white sand bottom beckoning, that you really wanted to jump right in. It looked like Caribbean water and I couldn’t resist pulling off my gloves and dipping my fingers in.   Not surprisingly it was extremely cold.  That was probably why the penguins and the sea lions liked it.   

                                isla 3

penguin 2                                       penguin

The boat captain did an excellent job of getting us extremely close to the rocky coast.  Close enough to see the wildlife, but just far enough to avoid crashing on the rocky shore.  Marceau, our guide, pointed out the various birds for us, such as the Cormants, but we were all holding our breath to see if we would spot the main attraction.  We didn’t have to wait long.  There, high above us on a ledge, trying to blend into the charcoal colored rocks, sat two of the most adorable penguins I have ever seen in my life.  Penguins!  Just sitting there. Not in a zoo, in real life, in my real life.  The whole boat was “OOHHing” and “AWWing”.  It was incredible.  We felt so blessed as our guide warned us that the tours don’t always see penguins.







 Humboldt Penguins are medium size, about 26 to 28 inches high and weigh about 13 pounds.  They are endangered, with less than 10,000 in the world now.  The first two we saw, I guess were a couple.  They were very cute.  Our guide did a great job holding the boat steady in one place so we could get a good long look. The penguins tired of us before we tired of them, and it was cute to watch them make their way up the rocks, hopping, scrambling, head down weight forward.   Our guide and boat drivers seemed to be enjoying it as much as we were.  The boat was maneuvered to another spot where we saw a few more penguins off in the distance, but none as close as the first pair we saw.  But that was alright.  We had gotten what we came for.

As we rounded to the other side of the island, we caught a glimpse of the elusive sea otter.  He was very shy, and blended into the reeds floating near the rocks. 




 A beautiful sea lion and her pup  were enjoying a break on top of a rock, seeming to pose for pictures. 






There was one more major surprise waiting for us.  As the boat headed toward land, off in the distance we could see dolphins and seals playing in the water.  So upon seeing the dolphins, I began my usual yelling and calling to get their attention, and my kids did the usual, “Mom, stop!  You’re embarrassing us!”  I don’t care.  Years ago, in Florida, we went on a dolphin  encounter boat.  Some dolphins were spotted in the distance and our guide said, “Dolphins love children.  Have the kids make as much noise as possible.”  Sure enough, we all made noise, especially the kids on board, and the dolphins came right over.  Ever since then, whenever I spot a dolphin, I yell, call, clap, make a lot of noise to let them know I’m happy to see them, and it always works.  They always come to the boat. So here, on this boat, in the Pacific, Tristan and Tessa were the only kids, so they needed my help.  “Here dolphins!”  “Dolphins, dolphins!”  I yelled and clapped and guess what.  They came.  The seals came with them.  Within moments we were treated to an incredible show.  Dolphins and seals were jumping up alongside the boat.  The more we yelled, the higher they jumped.  If possible, it seemed they were as excited as we were.  The seals were a bit on the shy side, but I think they were caught up in the moment.  One seal curious seal came very close to the boat, while the seals further away entertained us with dives in the water.  The dolphins were huge, the biggest we have seen.  They were so wonderful, trying so hard to get our attention, leaping from the water, as close to the boat as they dared.   You felt they wanted to see us as much as we wanted to see them.  Our show lasted at least 3o minutes, and our guides were gracious and wouldn’t move the boat until they were done.  At lunch later that day, I asked Marcel, our guide,  if it was true that calling to the dolphins helped and he said yes.  Of course I made sure Tristan and Tessa heard that.  He said dolphins are very good at reading the energy of the people on the boats, and the more excited the people are, the more excited the dolphins become.  But, he added, today was special.  In his 15 years of leading these tours, he had never seen them put on a show like this.  He was honestly and sincerely amazed.  I was vindicated.



dolphin 2


dolphin 8  



   dolphin 3











Of all the tours we had done on this trip, this was definitely at the top of the list.  I can’t say enough good things about it.  It’s a great feeling to actually do something that you have only dreamed about.  And to share it with Dan, Tristan and Tessa, to see their enjoyment, nothing could have been better.  I’ll never forget it.


Islas 1      



       isla 4


isla 7  



       isla 8