Tuesday, 11 November 2014

0139 Galapagos Day 4

  6th November

Overnight we had moved west and we awoke anchored off the coast of Floreana Island.  After breakfast, we were off in the rubber duckies for more adventures.  On the way to the beach we passed some small rocks sticking out of the water, and spotted several blue footed boobies on there, along with a pelican.  So we spent a few minutes with them, and then heading in to the beach we saw a large heron looking for fish on the edge of the rocks, so went over for a closer look.   And then, before we could reach the beach, a large turtle swam past, and after giving us some lovely sights of him just below the surface of the clear clear water, he stuck his head above water for a breath right beside the boat !

Finally, we made it to the beach !!  After a wet landing, we dried our feet off on the towels that had been brought in the boats, put our shoes on, and got ready to set off on the path.  But first we found a really large sand dollar, and it was still alive – I had never seen one which still had its inside in and was moving.  Meanwhile Enrique was fossicking in the sand beside us, and when we gathered round he had several small pieces of periodot, a semi precious stone.  Unfortunately, as one is not allowed to take a single thing off the island, it all had to stay on the beach !

Off we went through the bush, and right behind a slight hill was a large lagoon, cut off from the ocean, in which were a number of flamingos.  Along with other bird life, these flamingos move between a couple of islands, so sometimes they are 100 or more, and other times there are virtually none in this lagoon.  Fortunately there were about 20 in there when we arrived, so we had the chance to see them feeding.  There were also several small sandpipers fossicking around on the shore of the lagoon, as well as other birds and insects playing in the bushes around us.

We then followed the path on to another beach, and as we came down onto it there were large indentations in the sand – Turtles had been laying their eggs.  It was interesting to find out from Enrique that the hollows in the sand are NOT where the eggs are laid – Rather the eggs are laid in one indentation and then the turtle uses its flippers to scoop the surrounding sand into that indentation to cover the eggs – leaving a second indentation in the sand, which is the one we see after the turtle has left.  So the eggs are in fact somewhere around the edges of the indentation – Which is why people shouldn’t walk around near the indentations because they could be crushing the eggs.  Then it was off down to paddle in the edge of the water – And suddenly we were surrounded by small sting rays !  This was expected, but we hadn’t realised there would be so many – And we were told to keep our feet slightly apart and NOT move in case we trod on one.  Reason for the legs apart is so that when they go between your legs they can slide right through – If they got stuck there they might sting you !!  Again, one of those magical moments when nature is just doing its thing all around you. The rays are apparently in the shallow water to avoid the sharks, which would otherwise be eating them !

Janet then found a Sally Lightfoot crab that was having a meal of……crab !!   It seems that humans aren’t the only ones who like crab !!  And then, just after Enrique had explained that there was a Galapagos ladybird that had no black spots on it, and which fed off a scale on the local bushes, one landed on my hand.  I just had time to take a photo before he flew off – presumably to feast on some more scale on the bushes !   It was then time to head back to the boat…………………

On the way out we spotted a couple of little Galapagos penguins lazing on the rocks…….  When we arrived on the boat, we were greeted with cold wet flannels and nibbles and cold drinks, as usual.  Towels in our rooms were turtles and penguins, but not sure what the other one was !!  We then had a midday briefing from Enrique about the plans for the next, and final, day, before we went out for a quick snorkel or boat ride – I am getting a bit behind with my blog and I now can’t remember all the details !!   Anyway, when we came back to the boat, we were just settling down for lunch and the Skipper was taking the Seaman round to another part of the island for our afternoon adventure, when someone said there was a large pod of dolphins playing, and they were going to circle the ship around.  So for the next 30 or so minutes everyone was up at the bow, watching the dolphins playing in the water, and just enjoying the water.  Very pleasant.  We then had an hour to ourselves so I decided to download photos off my camera onto my computer – A very fortunate decision as it was to turn out…………….

After lunch it was back into the rubber duckies to go ashore to see the “post office” where whalers and others would leave mail in the old days, and anyone heading home would check to see if any letters were for people in their home town, and if so take them and deliver them.  The same system is true today.  However, as we came to shore, and clambered out of the rubber duckies, yours truly got tangled up somehow and did a back flip into the water – fully clothed.  Obviously great mirth for all, however my camera in my pocket was not so amused, and that would appear to be the end of photos for a while - Big sigh of relief from many, no doubt !!  Also my “ears”, as I call my hearing aids, also took a dunking, and this was more of a worry than the camera as they are less easily replaceable !  Anyway, we went to the post office, some people found mail for people living nearby and took them, and then we went down to the beach for people to snorkel or swim with some turtles that was swimming around off the rocks. Several did, but I wasn’t in a particularly joyful mood so I sat on the beach and sulked !!   It was then back to the boat and I managed to get my “ears” working again thank goodness, but unfortunately the camera was not in quite such a happy mood, and after much hairdryer drying has now been relegated to a sealed bag full of rice, and I will try to see if I can get it back to working !!

We then went for a deep water snorkel around some rocks, and although I like snorkelling I am not a deep water fan (too many things, real and imagined), might be lurking down there !!  Anyway, I was persuaded to go, and am so happy that I did – It was fantastic.  There were sea lions swimming around us, and the usual myriad of coloured fish – So many of them you could almost see nothing but fish.  Some big ones, some tiny, and a couple of really big ones !     But there is no way to describe the moment when a great big sea lion suddenly swims into vision beside you and rolls over on his back to have a good look at you, swims effortlessly around you a couple of times and then disappears off to go and look at someone else !!   A magical hour in the water that was made better right at the end when a massive eagle ray swam just below us all for about 5 minutes. 

It was then back to the boat again, and before dinner we all went out in rubber duckies for a last evening look around the rocks and inlets for wildlife.  By now I had my mini-tablet taking photos but I haven’t worked out how to get the photos off my tablet into my blog – Something for me to play with over the coming days !!  But a pleasant last evening, and we came ashore just as the sun went down.   Then it was a farewell drink with the crew and dinner, and off to bed ready for an early start in the morning in order to go ashore and catch our flights back to wherever we had all come from.


  1. as luck would have it, I happen to have a second hand camera for sale. At a very good price. Can you hear me? What a fantastic trip you've had...we've loved sharing it with you. J&S

  2. I well remember my 2000 trip and snorkeling with the sea lions and penguins. The latter were really amazing to watch underwater with their amazing speed and agility. Your photos bring back many happy memories for me of the islands. Thanks.

  3. Blue-footed Boobies, no less.
    I'm not great on bird identification, and the inadequacy reminds of an embarrassing outings somewhere near Broome. We thought we were going to a bird santuary (vision closer to a zoo) and we realised our impending error when all of our companions carried fantastic cameras and an A-Z of Birds in their canvas manbags.
    They were very kind to us ... as they made fun of us ... we emerged much more knowledgeable and respectful.