Galapagos - Day 6

Marielas Islands, Elizabeth Bay - Isabela IslandIn the morning we went on a panga ride (also known as a dinghy!) around the Marielas Islands, three small islets in Elizabeth Bay. On the islands and surrounding the islands, we saw penguins, Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, and red sunstars. From there we headed over to the shore of Isla Isabela and were taken into some mangroves and a small bay. The mangroves there were both red and black. There were tonnes of sea turtles swimming in the bay and a sea lion sleeping up in the mangrove roots. Sea Lion, Elizabeth Bay - Isabela IslandThe locals call these sea lions monkey sea lions because they have adapted to climbing up and resting on the roots of the trees instead of climbing onto a beach or rocks as most would. On the way out of the bay we saw a penguin swimming and a lava heron on the shore.

Galapagos Penguins on Marielas Islands, Elizabeth Bay - Isabela IslandAfter changing into wetsuits on board the boat, we got back in the dinghies and went over to the Marielas Islands, where we snorkeled around the largest of the three islets. Due to the current the water was even colder here than it had been elsewhere. We floated with the current around the islands, and saw lots of fish, some sea turtles, a marine iguana feeding underwater on some algae, some penguins floating on the water, sea urchins and starfish. I was getting cold so I headed for the dinghy, leaving Dave snorkeling. As I was getting out of the water the guide saw a huge manta ray in the water. Dave snorkeled over to it, while I was on the ladder of the boat as it drove over closer to the manta ray. I jumped back in the water to get a glimpse of it, which I did. But Dave was nearly face to face with it! The manta ray was probably 3m wide. Amazing!

Flamingoes, Punta Moreno - Isabela IslandWe got back on the boat and sailed to Punta Moreno, still on Isabela Island. In the afternoon, we walked on a lava field. It was an amazing sight, black lava rock as far as the eye could see. There were too types – rough and smooth. The sound of the lava rock moving when you moved it while walking was eerily metallic. We saw the Darwin bush, several flamingos in a brackish pond, a common gallinule, and lava cactus.

Back on board we had an early dinner because the overnight travel we were going to embark on was expected to be rough as we passed the southern point of Isabel Island and headed out into open seas. And it was rough! That night was definitely the roughest night we had on the boat. I took a gravol before bed and again managed to sleep ok. The guide told us that in the season where seas are roughest even the crew can’t sleep on that part of the trip and the bar tender has to tie everything down. I’m glad we went during the calmer season!

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Posted in ecuador | galapagos | travel Submitted by Meg on Thu, 2010-12-30 15:01

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