Galapagos Day 2

Hi Everyone


Why am I so tired? Its 9:27PM and I am exhausted. Why? Lets go through the day and you will see why.


The day started at 6 AM. Our wake up call is Pablo getting on the loudspeaker and telling us all to wake up. I slept like a log. The waves were more pronounced than I expected, but calm enough to be a sort of a soothing effect. We all met for coffee and waited for the fog to lift. Our leaders decided to have us eat breakfast first and then go on our Panga to explore the cliffs of “Vicente Rosa Point” on Isabela. Isabela is the largest of the Galapagos Islands. We then boarded our Pangas. Do we all remember what a Panga is? It is another name for a zodiac. We then explored the cliffs of Isabela on the northwestern coast. The cliffs and water were full of life. We saw those amazing birds that don’t fly. What do you mean a bird that does not fly? Only in the Galapagos are flightless Cormorant birds. When I was in China, I saw and took pictures of fishermen that use Cormorant birds to fish. Their birds, of course, fly. These Cormorant birds do not have to fly to eat and through evolution have lost their need to fly. They still have small wings, but do not use them for their intended purpose. These birds waddle into the water and eat. We also witnessed one bringing some small branches out of the water to make a nest. There were also lots of marine iguanas hanging out on the cliffs The second unique creature known only in the Galapagos is the marine iguana. The marine iguana is the only iguana that swims in the water to feed. There are land iguanas here as well, but the marine iguana is the one that is only known in the Galapagos. We saw lots of turtles feeding. We also saw some seals swimming and then climbing up on lava rocks that were outcroppings near the cliffs. Then the Galapagos penguin made its appearance. Penguins that live on the equator. Thats right. Of course, these penguins only live in the Galapagos. Another example of seeing something for the first time. These are smaller penguins and do not look like your typical penguin found in colder climates, but they are black and white just like the others. Most of what I have seen so far is volcanic. The rocks are harden lava and the this in itself creates a challenge in bringing out the beautiful colors of the area. 


We then headed back to the yacht to change into our snorkeling gear and go back out. We were each given wet suits, fins and a mask with a breathing tube. I had brought a waterproof camera just for fun. In order to take good underwater photography you need expensive equipment. The images you get from a cheap waterproof camera is not the quality that I would accept. We put on our wet suits, grabbed the gear and got back into the Pangas. We then were driven further in towards the shore. It was now time to jump in. The water was nice with the wet suit on. I immediately saw a school of silver long fish and took some pictures. I then swam into a school of large clown fish. Maybe the biggest clown fish I had ever seen. I took some more pictures and then it happened. My camera fell off of my wrist band and I saw it floating down to the bottom. I dove down trying to catch it, but it was too late. The last I saw of my camera was it falling into a crevice. Furthermore, another member of the group lost her GoPro in the water. Imagine how many cameras are at the bottom of the Galapagos. Oh well, I guess I wasn’t meant to take any underwater pictures that I would have not been happy with anyway. 
At noon, we all boarded the Pangas and were driven back to the yacht. After taking long hot showers, lunch was served on the sun deck. Rich and myself went to sit in the hot tub after the snorkeling and were late for lunch. I would have turned up the temperature in the hot tub to soothe my aching arms and shoulders. 


After lunch was rest time and I really needed some time to myself. It was time for a well deserved nap until 3 PM. We were going on a land hike on Fernandina Island. Fernandina Island is the youngest of the Galapagos Islands and is growing. In March 2018 there was a volcanic eruption and lava added to the size of the island. Tourists were not allowed on Fernandina until the lava had cooled and it was safe. 
We took our Pangas to Fernandina Island and luckily it was high tide so we were able to be dropped off on the island. Black lava rocks of all sizes were everywhere. We then started to hike and walked right into a huge group of marine iguanas. When the marine iguanas are on land, they like to huddle together for their body heat and warmth. My camera could not stop clicking. I had always wanted to take pictures of marine iguanas up close and this was my opportunity. After some time shooting these amazing creatures, we finally left the location and walked towards the water. There were huge lava fields heading down to the ocean. We then saw some more marine iguanas sitting on some beautiful mangrove wood that had a beautiful texture to it. This could not get any better. I immediately stopped and laid on the rough ground to be at eye level. As I was getting up, I fell and cut my two knees. Dot worry, it was not bad, but am buying knee pads when I return to civilization. We then saw some seals and by this time, it was time to head back to our Pangas and then to the yacht. Unfortunately, it was now low tide and the Pangas could not pick us up where they had dropped us off. We eventually had to walk on wet, slippery lava rocks to be picked up. Some of us fell and we were constantly slipping. You had to take small steps and slowly navigate yourself around. 


When we arrived at the yacht, the chef had made some great plantains before dinner. After a nice hot shower, we were then told what the next day will bring. Pablo treated my wounds and scratches with an antiseptic and then dinner was served. Dinner was a local fish that was fabulous. 
After dinner Lisa led a critique of three of our images that we had each submitted. As I hav e previously said, I love these critiques and always look forward to them.


Now you can understand why I am so tired. 


Talk to everyone tomorrow from this strange and different kind of world.
Love

Larry

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