Anders is writing:
We wake up unusually early. Most of us at least. Imants and Dora are still sleeping when the rest are finishing breakfast. They are handed sandwiches and then we are off. But not before Imants has got a song and a present. It is his nameday after all. We want to reach Punta de Choros, some 1,5 hours drive away, before 9.00. When we get to the Choros valley there is thick fog. To make things worse, there are donkeys by the road. “Donkeys in the fog”. We arrive just before 9 and there are quite a few people in the harbour. Tours are being arranged, boats are leaving for Isla de Damas. We get our tickets to go out with boat Josefa Valentina.
The boatride is a bit bumpy at first, going straight against the waves. First we go past Isla Gaviota. A few oystercatchers on the beach, but not much else. We go a bit further and it appears our guide is looking for something, dolphins probably, but there are none. But when we’re coming closer to Isla de Choros, we can see there’s more activity there. The first mammals we see are bottle-nosed dolphins, swimming next to our boat. There are some birds as well, gulls, boobys, cormorants and not to forget, some Humboldt penguins. Vultures circle above the steep cliffs. A little later we go past a sea lion, resting on a small rock and later there are more. Two otters are possibly the cutest sighting of the day. The third island is Isla de Damas, where we land, after spotting a pelican. We have an hour to walk around, where flora and fauna of the islands are presented on posters along the trail.
After coming back to Punta de Choros Imants, Agnese and Dora goes to find a geocache. I join them, Dace and Andra follows as well. It’s a nice walk some 700 meters out of the town, with views out over the ocean and the harbour. The cache was not easily found though, but Imants gets it after a while.
On the way back to La Serena we stop by some sand dunes. At first I’m thinking, what fun is that? Once by the dunes, my view on it changes. It was very interesting to study the shapes and ripples made by the wind swept sand. Some people walk off into the sand sea, I sit down by some cactuses and take pictures.
We see some foxes and guanacos along the road and then turn to go up a hillside on a small dirt road. There is a small cave or dig here, we get out and wander around a bit. Some walk upwards to get a better view, some are looking for samples of rock to bring home.
In La Serena we park the cars at a supermarket, then one group goes for groceries and the beach, one goes to the center for Eclipse stamps and shopping at the Recova market. When my group arrives at the apartment, dinner is ready. There is even ice cream and fried platano for dessert!