Day 42: More Boobies

Mon. 24th September 2012

Blue footed BoobiesWe woke to find the Cachalote moored alone off Santiago Island. Usually there is at least the cruiser San Jose moored close by. The San Jose has been following the same itinerary as us, however we do not often see people on it so it has been nicknamed the Mari Celeste! Occasionally we have seen some passengers being taken for beach landings an hour earlier than us which would mean breakfast at 6am so glad not to be on that boat!

We now all know the drill and so are all on the foredeck by 7:55am dressed in our lifejackets and armed with sandals, cameras and binoculars at the ready.

The tiny jetty on Santiago Island where we land is full of more Blue Footed Boobies and a poor unsuspecting marine lizard scurries off as his tail is accidently trodden on as we disembark.

OctopusLone FlamingoA shout goes up from Dave as he spots an octopus in a rock pool so we all huddle around and are amazed at how quickly it can change colour as it swims over the dark volcanic rock onto the sand bed. Even Juan is excited as this is a rare sight.

In a hypersalinic lagoon a few feet from the sea, two flamingos are quietly scavenging for food in the water. It is fascinating watching how they appear to dance around their beak, which is in the water foraging for food.

Us with natureOn the climb up Dragons Hill, for a spectacular view of the bay, we spotted land iguanas firstly hidden in the bushes and then a couple with their nest in the middle of the path! Also, the mockingbirds perched overhead are a common sight no longer worthy of a second glance.

On our return to the beach, there is a heron by the rock pool where the octopus had been. Looks like he may have just had an early lunch – we were getting fond of that octopus too!

We had a two hour sail (well cruise) before lunch. Jerry would not approve of the folding away of the sails (vaguely roll into a ball and tie a rope around before suspending a foot off the deck).

The obligatory daily snorkel followed and it is surprising how cold the water is even in a short wetsuit. However, the cold is soon forgotten when the shoals of fish begin to swim by.

Back massage on the rope like lavaToday’s afternoon walk was to see the volcanic landscape of Santiago Island following the eruption just over 110 years ago. A complete contrast from the usual trips to see animals as this was more of a geology lesson (where are you Richard when I need you!). The different patterns and formations of the rocks where limitless, some looking like rope, some like little “clanger” holes, and others just little solid blobs (cow pat like!) or spaghetti straight from the pasta machine. It would make a great exhibit at the Tate Modern.

New lava meets oldThis covered quite a large area and it was interesting to see the edges where it flowed over the existing lava from the previous eruption 4 to 5 million years ago and just stopped like viscous liquid over a solid. Lichen was beginning to grow and also a cactus which probably grew from a seed a bird dropped. The only creatures were little lava lizards and also a lava heron. We also took time to lie on the rocks which were lovely and warm and we could have stayed all day.

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