Another boring day in the Galapagos. How can any day be boring here? Charles Darwin wrote his famous books about the Galapagos recording the unique creatures. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
Our day started again at 6 AM. Pablo put on some music and we all woke up. At six thirty we boarded our Pangas for a wet landing. What does this mean? Our Pangas were only able to take us so far and then we had to get in the water and walk to the shore. How do you carry your camera gear? You buy a water proof satchel made from a special rubber that protects it. Even if the bag falls in the water, it floats. My bag is made by a company named “Overboard”.
After walking through through the surf, we all met at Urbina Bay on the island of Isabela. We had packed our hiking shoes in the water proof satchel and sat down to put them on. It was then off to following Pablo through the underbrush. This area experienced a major uplift in 1954 causing the land to rise over sixteen feet. The coast expanded half a mile out and the wildlife had to adjust. We shortly saw our first land turtle. There are two types of turtles in the Galapagos, land and sea. Land turtles, of course, never venture into the water. Sea turtles only come out of the water to create their nest and bury their eggs. On one side of our path was a restricted nesting area. It takes about four months for the eggs to hatch and the there are approximately one thousand eggs in each nest. Only two eggs will survive and mature to adults. We walked into numerous land turtles. They were young and older. We even saw two land turtles mating. These are all wild turtles and not part of a conservancy center. When these turtles mate, the male lets out a howling sound and they are interlocked for over one day. The humidity was intense. My clothes became drenched with sweat. I also got quite muddy and dirty by laying on the ground taking images. I always tell people the best pictures are captured at eye level. We also ran into some land iguanas. They are yellow due to the food they eat. Land iguanas live mostly alone unlike marine iguanas who live in huge bunches. Also, land iguanas go into burrows they dig at night and venture out after the sun rises.
After spending about two hours on this hike, we eventually met our Pangas, took off our shoes and got on board for our short ride back to the yacht. I needed a cold shower in the worst sort of way and had to wash my clothes by hand.
After breakfast we were given a lightroom session on some maneuvers and techniques until about eleven. It was then time to rest until lunch.
After lunch we rested again until 2 PM. A little before 2 we all put on our wet suits and got our snorkeling gear for one hour of snorkeling at Moreno Point. Moreno Point is also on Isabela Island. I put on my wet suit, grabbed my gear and hopped on a Panga. We then drove towards the shore and the Pangas stopped to let us off. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Lots of brightly colored fish and then the first contact with a sea turtle. This sea turtle was so graceful underwater. Its shell had sea moss growing on it. The sea turtle was eating moss off the rocks. I just watched in amazement and floated along with him. We saw two more sea turtles and I explored the rocks and saw some small creatures on the rocks and crevices. What a different kind of world.
After one hour of snorkeling and my shoulders aching, we got back on the Pangas and headed back to the yacht. I immediately took a hot shower and got ready for our next adventure. We were going out on the Pangas to the mangroves and beyond. Imagine seeing mangroves growing out of lava rocks and stones. We saw schools of sting rays swimming alongside our Pangas and lots of penguins and flightless cormorants. This is the last time we will see these amazing birds since they only are on the western side of the Galapagos. We were able to see some of the flightless cormorants nesting and of course, my friends the marine iguanas were plentiful. As we drove further away from the mangroves we saw more and more Galapagos sea lions. Their black skin is so shiny and beautiful. We also saw a mother nursing her pup. The gurgling sound of the pup could be heard. What a wonderland.
After our presentation for tomorrow by Pablo dinner was served. Andy them gave us another Lightroom session. I am the last one awake and am feeling my arms and hands being very heavy as i finish this blog. The days of lugging a camera and gear are starting to wear on me.
Talk to everyone tomorrow