Isla de la Plata

Isla de la Plata: Silver Island. “The poor man’s Galapagos.” You can see it directly to the west of us, from our beach at Mirador San Jose.

The island gets its name both romantically and scatologically. One story is that Sir Francis Drake buried treasure somewhere on it, and that treasure remains lost to this day. Our guide told us it was Blackbeard, not Sir Francis Drake. (Blackbeard never sailed the South Pacific.) I like the Blackbeard story better.

The other explanation is that Isla de la Plata is home to mating blue-footed boobies. Blue-footed booby shit is silvery white, and the foul things produce tons of it. Ergo…

We left January 30 with our neighbours, Neil and Jodi Rutley, to spend the night at a pretty and extremely friendly hostal in Puerto Lopez, called Tuzco Lodge.

Our tour out of Lopez was bright and early the following morning. It took about an hour to arrive at the island. The rest was a three-hour hike and some snorkeling in cold, cloudy water. Sandwich lunch with fruit juice. Price: $35 a head.

For those of you who read this and think, “Hey, that sounds fun.” Reconsider.

It’s really hot. Like, stupid hot. There are scorpions. The place is thick with nasty biting horse files.

And the blue-footed boobies are publicity whores. Show them a compact digital camera or smartphone, and they preen like this is their shot at a movie career. It’s actually kind of funny.