Saturday, 8 November 2014

0138 Galapagos Day 3

Galapagos Day 3 - 5th November

Woke up at least partially refreshed, and found we had moved again during the night – Now we were at Espanola Island, and anchored off Gardner Bay.  Out of the cabin window it was partially cloudy, and a couple of other boats were moored off the beach as well – almost the first time we had seen other people for a couple of days !   While we were waiting for breakfast and having coffee, lots of little stormy petrels  were around the boat, dancing on the waves as they delicately scooped up plankton or other similar food sources off the top of the sea.  Amazing to watch them.

After yet another great breakfast, we suited up in our wet suits again and then headed off to the beach for some more snorkelling.  On landing, we were amongst dozens of sea lions, but before we could even get organized, we had mockingbirds coming over to check us out.  We then wandered up the beach, through sea lions in all sorts of poses, but mostly asleep, and found a marine iguana lazing on the rocks.  These are incredible creatures – the only iguanas that have adapted to the sea, and swim in it and find food on the rocks – But they REALLY are ugly beasties !!   Then it was back along the beach for a snorkel, passing a tiny baby sea lion that had probably only been born the night before.  It was so cute but unfortunately the mother didn’t seem to be paying much attention to it or feeding it, so we can only hope that it survived.

It was  pretty murky under water, with the wind and the waves stirring up the sand.  Apparently it was better out around some rocks but I didn’t really feel happy out there this morning, so I spent most of the morning on the beach with the sea lions !  One of them seemed to fall in love with the blue towel bag, and was trying to sleep on it.  Enrique needed to get towels out of it and the sea lion was most indignant when he was disturbed !!  Shortly after that we returned to The Seaman, and after a brief rest and drink, we swapped activities – Some snorkelled in deep water, dropped off from the rubber ducky, others kayaked, and others went exploring the cliffs in the rubber ducky.  I opted for the kayak, and we had a great time watching the graceful frigate birds wheeling over head, and the seals perched on the rocks we were passing, or sea lions sticking their heads up to watch us.  The snorkelers apparently had some amazing interactions with sea lions and other animals, so that by the time we got back to the boat for lunch, everyone was talking about various encounters they had experienced.  Just a magical morning in every way.

Back on board, we found our towels today were folded like starfish, and we enjoyed the normal large and yummy lunch, and then had all of half an hour to rest before we were off on our next expedition !!   We were still off Isla Espanola, but had moved round to Suarez Point, and were going for a walk around the paths in search of, among other things, more marine iguanas as well as albatrosses and the amusing-looking blue footed boobies.    But first we had to negotiate a whole lot of baby sea lions playing on the path to the beach, and the usual hundreds of brightly coloured Jenny Lightfoot crabs, and then we found an absolute mess (n other word for it !) of marine iguanas.  They were just all over each other – literally – lying in piles 2 and three deep.  Everywhere !  And intermingled with them amongst the rocks were more seals – They get themselves into some of the weirdest positions in cracks in the rocks, and look almost dead or certainly very uncomfortable, but it doesn’t seem to worry them !!  Funny to see all the animals co-existing like this in apparent harmony. 

There were some of the small lava lizards having a battle for supremacy amongst themselves, little finches in the bushes, and then as we fought our way across the very rough lava rocks we found our first albatross just lying there in the open, with it fluffy chick a couple of feet away, also just sitting there.  What a magnificent looking bird the albatross is – Until it tries to walk ! Its legs really do not want to support it properly, and it is most ungainly.  The chicks even more so – their legs only half unfold so it is like they are walking around on their knees.  Further on down the track we came to two other chicks, and they were jousting with each other with their beaks, play acting the albatross mating dance that we were to see later from other adults. 

Then we came to the cliff at the edge of the island, where all sorts of birds were nesting and going about their business.  Then we saw 5 or 6 adult albatross walking through the scrub towards the cliff – They can’t run to take off, so they walk over to the cliff then just walk off the edge into thin air, and immediately turned into magnificent and graceful creatures of the air.  Just a great sight to see them taking off like this.

More to come here - Come back later !  Have run out of time today !!


  1. Wonderful. Just one thing. Is the seal laying behind the 'common' one an unknown breed. Much more attractive than the 'common' one I must say.
    Really great to see the photos Giles. Cheers.