Thursday, October 27th ~ Galapagos Islands ~ Isabela and Fernandina Islands
Day 2 ~ A ship wide wake up call at 7:00 and breakfast served at 7:15, with a planned departure (again via panga boats) promptly at 8:15. Our day will be divided up into two sections. The morning on Isabela Island with our sightseeing all done from the small boats as we creep along the cliff line searching for the tiny local Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorant, and marine iguanas.
Some of the passengers have chosen the option to go snorkeling instead. The water is beautifully clear, relatively calm, but cold. Snorkel gear, swim vest, fins, and wetsuits are provided for those wishing them. Tim and I contemplate optional snorkeling scheduled for the next afternoon which will be done from the beach where we can simply walk into the water to the depth we are most comfortable with. Since Tim does not swim well, we thought this might be the better choice.
Once again the weather is picture perfect, and after loading in to the panga we head off. Following along the steep cliff line, we were lucky to spot a Galapagos Hawk. This is one of the few predatory birds in the islands. The picture is not great, but at least we did get to see one.
But the highlight came about when Tim spotted a large group of birds in mass hysteria a short distance off shore.
Our guide immediately asked our panga driver to head that direction to check it out.
Low and behold we were so excited when we got to see a killer whale. The orca, a large male, put on a nice show for us for about ten minutes before moving further on. We were told that the Orca is a rare sighting and usually only seen about three times a year here.
The islands are volcanic. The geological structures are both beautiful and interesting and I loved seeing the harsh rock formations.
Here is a run down of the morning sightings:
Nazca and Blue-Footed Booby
Brown Pelican and Marine Iguanas
Green Sea Turtle
Sally Lightfoot Crab
The afternoon excursion was to Fernandina Island, the youngest of the over 100 islands in the Galapagos chain. And I thought our initial landscape from day 1 was harsh. HaHa, that was an oasis compared to this stop.
Our walk was primarily done across rounded black lava. There were a few mangrove trees were we disembarked from the panga, but other than a few colorful short cactus, there was little vegetation here.
The main focus at this stop was to learn more about the marine iguanas. There were hundreds of them in huge gatherings. Being reptiles, they soak up the sunshine during the day light hours, lounging about on the rocks. But when it turns dark, they huddle together, one on top of another to try to conserve their combined body heat.
And if I have not already lost you, here are some more pictures of the many, many amazing animals we saw today. This island was a true walking zoo. It just happens to be all in raw nature. I think this will go down as one of the most memorable days I have had in a very long time.
Plus a few miscellaneous critters including a NON poisonous snake, Brown Pelican and Flightless Cormorant.
And last but certainly not least – a Galapa Gus
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the strict rules that have been put in place to protect these extraordinary creatures.