Day 38: What A Lot Of Wildlife

Thur. 20th September 2012

There was anticipation and excitement in the air at our 7am breakfast, as everyone was looking forward to their first full day in the Galapagos. Our guide (Juan) gave us a briefing as to what the day entailed.

First landing and the locals have come out to see us!First up was a boat trip to South Plaza Island, so we all piled into the two pangas and headed off. As we approached the small jetty we saw a mass of sea lions in the sea, on the beach and on the jetty. Everyone was excited and started snapping pictures as they disembarked. The guide was quietly amused as he knew what was to come which was much more of the same.

Feeding timeA few paces onto land and there were masses of iguanas. This was the Galapagos we expected and we walked around the island on a marked path and all the wildlife was quite unafraid and so we could watch them whilst they ignored us.

Frigate birdFrigate birds escorted the yacht  on the crossing to the next island, Santa Fe, in the hope of scraps. At first there were three, but we counted twelve by the end of the crossing. They seemed to be getting a free ride from the updraft created by the boat. It was a quiet crossing, as everyone found their sealegs. The water was quite choppy so lunch was delayed until the anchor was lowered.  As we could not snorkel after our three course lunch this meant change to plan B, a walk first. We therefore again piled into the two pangas and headed off, this time a “wet landing” which meant reverse the boats up on the beach as wade onto the shore.

Our group and the sea lionsThe beach was full of  lazy sea lions sunning themselves. As we are seeing wildlife in natural surroundings and humans are not allowed to interfere with the natural cycle of life, we saw two dead sea lions, one a baby which had died from starvation as the mother leaves their young for up to 11 days at a time to collect food and do not always return as they may get lost or be eaten by sharks. The second one was a young female who looked like she died during childbirth. This subdued us for a while but were pleased to come across a mother with a newly born baby with Frigate birds sat close hoping to steal the placenta. This was yet another good photo opportunity.

Gulls and red carpet weed on Santa Fe IslandOur busy schedule meant a brief stop at the yacht to collect snorkelling gear and then back in the pangas. Snorkelling was straight of the dingy into the sea. Not easy for the first time snorkelers so Dave helped Nadia with her mask and explained what to do. I was off and we saw amazing coloured fish , a turtle (but not as good as Mexico!) and a white tip shark. A couple of curious sea lions also came out to investigate us and to show off how much better in the water they were than us.

A very busy day and straight after supper the yacht was off again to the next place, arriving and anchoring at 1:15am (sleeping just above the anchor we can confirm the time!). There was a reasonable sea swell on the crossing – this is the middle of the Pacific Ocean after all. Whilst Steve & Graham took turns playing guitar and leading a sing-along, the group gradually thinned out as people succumbed  to tiredness and queasiness.

Perhaps after a better nights sleep and another day of acclimatisation we will all do more justice to the bar and to socialising.

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