Ecuador - it’s a country of contrasts. I chugged back down a river for hours to get out of the rainforest, and then a half hour plane trip took me back over the mountains to Quito. Then I didn’t even have time to wash my smalls before heading west for the coast. I needed some pottering time.
Sometimes pottering needs focus. And so I sloshed through the waves to the far end of the beach - about three miles of beach - to sit on a rock and watch these crabs. To give you some idea of scale - they are about 6-7cm across.
There are hundreds of them. As the tide turns they scrabble out of little burrows. To begin with they appear to simply run around on the beach - maybe their little eyes are getting used to the sunshine. Then they line up along the tide line. I can only assume that the sea dumps something tasty at the turn of each wave. But they are at their funniest when threatened - if I stood up and tiptoed towards them every single one scuttled as fast as its tiny legs would take it away from the sea. It must be a vibration of some sort that they feel - if I stayed completely still they came quite close. And they gave no response to sound when I tried talking to them (there was no one else around!).
Time to saunter back. Past this chap - a turkey vulture.
He’s not huge, as vultures go, but is a bully, with no manners. I watched him eat so much of this fish I can’t see how he could ever have got off the ground. Meanwhile four black-headed vultures, who found the fish first, lurked a safe distance away. I told him he reminded me of a politician or two, but it made no difference.
At the other end of the beach, the fishermen (they are all men) were unloading the night’s catch, supervised by a skyful of frigatebirds.
This picture doesn’t do justice to the size of them - they have a wingspan of over two metres. I’ve seen them in the Galapagos - there they fish for themselves. Here in Puerto Lopez they have learned that it is much easier to allow men to do it for them and to scavenge and steal what they can. Which makes sense when fishermen throw the tiddlers away anyway.
So you see, I had quite a busy time, pottering about. So as the sun when down I sat to watch the beach volleyball, with a beer.