Galapagos - Day 8

Tortoise, Santa Cruz IslandOur last day in the Galapagos! We had an early breakfast and headed to shore at 6:30am. We boarded a minibus and headed towards the airport. On the way, we stopped at a private ranch, which is home to many many tortoises (all wild, not in captivity). We put on some rubber boots and headed for a walk around the ranch. We saw a lot of tortoises, sleeping, walking and taking mud baths. Very cool! The next stop was Los Gemelos, two huge craters (or sink holes) formed by collapsing volcanic rock.

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Posted in ecuador | galapagos | travel Submitted by Meg on Thu, 2010-12-30 16:33

Galapagos - Day 7

Organic White Sand Beach, Punto Cormorant - Floreana IslandWe arrived at Punto Cormorant on Floreana Island early in the morning. In the morning we went for a hike on the island where we saw the two types of beaches in Galapagos – green sand and white sand. The green sand beach had a bit of a green tinge and was quite dark. The other beach we walked on was white sand, and was so soft – it felt like walking on flour rather than sand. There was a turtle nesting area on that beach. Meg and Dave, Punto Cormorant - Floreana IslandIn the shallow water we saw many sting rays feeding as the tide washed in, and the guide showed us how to walk in the water to avoid stepping on one – and getting stung! Basically you shuffle your feet without picking them up. We also saw some sea turtles in the shallow water and a few sea lions laying about. We saw a few small birds on the beach – plover, sandpiper – as well as a yellow crowned night heron and a great blue heron.

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Posted in ecuador | galapagos | travel Submitted by Meg on Thu, 2010-12-30 15:37

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.

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

Galapagos - Day 5

Penguin, Punta Espinosa on Isla FernandinaIn the morning we went for a walk on Punta Espinosa, on Isla Fernandina. From the dinghy along the shore we saw flightless cormorants, penguins, pelicans, sea lions and some sea turtles swimming in the water. Once on land, the first thing we saw was a nesting ground for marine iguanas. And thousands of iguanas! The iguanas were sunning themselves on the rocks, piled on top of each other. It was incredible. We would see one huge group, walk on a few more meters and see another huge group. We passed various types of mangroves, a Galapagos hawk and oyster catchers. We passed by a small bay, where there were hundreds of fish jumping now and then out of the water, as well as two sea turtles mating (apparently the whole process can take hours!). There was also a whale skeleton set out on the rocks at one point. Apparently it had been carried there and re-assembled at some point, but had been there so long it was bleached pure white. This island was again one very recently formed by volcanic activity, in fact, Fernandina is the youngest of the islands.

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Posted in ecuador | galapagos | travel Submitted by Meg on Thu, 2010-12-30 13:43

Galapagos - Day 4

Frigate Bird (chest inflated), North Seymour IslandIn the morning we went for a walk on North Seymour Island. We had to make a very early start to the day, because today we were dropping about half the passengers off at the airport and picking up a bunch more. The main animal life on this island consisted of birds. There were a lot of nesting grounds, where small babies and immature birds were growing up. We saw blue footed boobies, frigate birds with their red throats inflated (the males do this to attract a mate) and lava gulls. We also saw some crabs and sea lions with very small babies (probably almost newborn) trying to feed from their mothers.

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Posted in ecuador | galapagos | travel Submitted by Meg on Tue, 2010-12-28 23:40

Galapagos - Day 3

Walking on Santa Fe IslandIn the morning we walked on a trail for about 1.5h on Santa Fe Island. We saw lots of sea lions, land iguanas (which are different from marine iguanas – they are yellow and red in colour and live exclusively on land, whereas the marine iguanas are black and have to go into the ocean to eat algae as their food source), some amazing cacti, a tree called the palo santo (the sap is burned as incense), crabs, lots of birds like the oyster catcher, finches, a rare gull (the guide couldn’t remember its name it was that rare!), pelicans, and yellow finches.

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Posted in ecuador | galapagos | travel Submitted by Meg on Tue, 2010-12-28 21:05

Galapagos - Day 2

Baby Sea Lion, Puerto Suarez on Isla EspanolaWe started our first full day in the Galapagos at Puerto Suarez on Isla Espanola. After breakfast we headed to the island and went for a walk. As soon as we got off the dinghy we were greeted by sea lions. We headed over to a small beach, where there were even more sea lions. It was incredible how close we were! We were always supposed to keep 2m between the animals and ourselves, but sometimes that was actually impossible because they would be right on a trail. We walked for probably about 2 hours, stopping often to watch animals and birds.

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Posted in ecuador | galapagos | travel Submitted by Meg on Tue, 2010-12-28 17:46

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