November 29, 2003
The Bird Slut
DAY 39: Each island of the Galapagos archipelago has its share of endemic species -- species that are not found anywhere else. Sometimes we'd be treated to a new animal, sometimes it was the same old marine iguana, sally lightfoot crab or the ever-popular sea lion (which never got tired.) This was the case when we landed on the shores of Gardner Bay on Isla Española, the southern most island of all the Galapagos and walked along its white sand beach. However, as Darwin discovered, Life finds a way to make things interesting.
"You should go for Tatjiana," Navid suggested to me as we walked along the beach. He had noticed that there might be some sort of attraction between the two of us. "Seems like she's interested."
"Yeah, I know," I answered. Yes, I felt too that perhaps there might be something there; then again, it could just have been the psychological syndrome I've heard of where tourists fall for their guides because of circumstance, sort of like Florence Nightingale Syndrome -- I noticed that the other guys traveling solo were trying to get her attention as well.
The term "colorado" could apply to marine iguanas as well because we were greeted by red marine iguanas grouped up in piles. Male marine iguanas change color during mating season, which meant the piles of iguanas were either really manly football huddles, or really gay orgies.
Tatjiana led our group down the designated trail, passed more piles of iguanas, lava lizards, sea lions and Galapagos oystercatcher birds. Sand flies came in every direction and there was a lot of self-slapping going around.
While on land, wandering albatrosses have a different behavior, particularly in the act of dating. When two albatrosses are courting, they do a courtship dance for hours by knocking each other's beak together like a swordfight. "I think it's so beautiful," Tatjiana said, all the while I'm thinking in my head, "How's that for kinky foreplay?" Anyway, after the two birds make out, they become mates for life, and all without the hassles of pre-nuptial agreements.
At one point, we saw two albatrosses really going at it while a lone one sat nearby. I figured he was the pizza delivery bird who was just there to watch.
Wandering albatrosses should really get their own soap opera because we stumbled upon a courtship dance between a male and female. They were making out with their little beakplay until another male came along; the female then started dancing with the new guy. The other male stayed near and soon the female was making out with two guys, back and forth. Nearby was another couple and the female making out with the two guys started making out with the third male for an albatross three-way. The other female got angry, but the first female just kept on going at it.
"What a slut," I said. If not a soap opera, then definitely a reality show on FOX.
WE WALKED ALONG THE CLIFFS passed masked boobies -- the biggest boobies of them all (hee hee) -- as the sun set (picture above), making the sky a dramatic pink, glowing from behind the clouds. The tide came in and ocean waves crashed into the rocks, sometimes through "blowholes" in the rock, forming geysers of ocean mist.
The Free Enterprise sailed through the night over big rolling ocean waves and most people -- including myself -- started to get a little sea sick. I managed to watch the whole DVD until I couldn't hold in my nausea any longer and just went to sleep.
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