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Galapagos Islands, Ecuador – Part V (Post #133)

Michele writes….

We woke up May 30th to find the Legend cruiseship was anchored in a giant volcanic crater.  When we went up to the ship deck we found we were surrounded on all sides by Genovesa island except for a break in the crater where the ship had sailed through.  For our morning excursion we went by zodiac to some steep rocky steps and walked up to the cliffs of Genovesa Island. It was here that we finally saw the Galapagos red footed booby. They obviously have red feet but also have a beautiful light blue beak.  Here is a picture:

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On Genovesa we also saw masked boobies, and thousands of birds flying over the sea cliffs.  I commented to Mike that there were so many birds that they looked like locusts. 

After our hike we went snorkeling off of the zodiac boats. The water is supposedly 1000 meters deep around Genovesa so when we went snorkeling we were next to a wall and couldn´t see the bottom.  The visibility was excellent and we saw a white tip shark and a far away hammerhead shark.  At one point we were only about 6 inches away from 3 sea lions who were playing around near us. We also saw a huge (2.5 ft.) blue fish with yellow jigsaw patterns and a lot of smaller intense rainbow colored fish.  Mike spotted a guinea fowl puffer fish and when he dove down to take a closer look it ballooned into a giant yellow puffy ball.

After our lunch and afternoon siesta, we went to Darwin Bay off of Genovesa Island.  We landed on a white sandy beach with sea lions lounging all around.  We again observed the male frigets inflate their red pouches every time a female flew over and we saw several red footed and masked boobies nesting.  We were supposed to snorkel in Darwin Bay but the surf was rough and the visibility was poor so we just swam around.

Back on the ship we were surprised with an ice cream sundae bar. After going back for seconds, we watched a beautiful sunset with Jim, Cathy, and Jim´s mom, Ruth.

Overnight we sailed to Espanola Island. On Wed, May 31st, we went to Suarez Point on Espanola Island for our morning excursion.  On this island we saw a few creatures we had not seen before.  One of these creatures was the large albatross bird. There were many pairs of albatrosses mating and their mating dance was fascinating to watch. They looked like they were actually dancing with each other.  We also saw a new subspecies of marine iguana called the Espanola iguana.  These iguanas are quite colorful as a result of the different nutrients they get from this particular island.  Most are black and red like these two friends: 

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 However, other Espanola iguanas were green and yellow like this guy (or gal):

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After lagging behind the rest of our group the entire day to examine the Espanola iguanas more closely, we went to the other side of the point.  Here, the landscape included some beautiful lava formations and bright blue sea water. One interesting feature of this area was a blow hole (made out of a lava tube) which erupted with a 30-40 foot blast of sea water every few seconds. Here is a picture Mike took of the sea cliffs in this area:

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Our next blog, #134, is the last in our Galapagos Series.  Mike is writing that one now…

 

 



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