Galapagos – 2

Our second day (Wednesday) on the Motor Yacht Daphne followed the standard timetable of our days on board. Breakfast was at 7.00 am and it consisted of eggs, bread, cheese and ham and some fresh fruit. Lunch was at 1.00 pm and we had spinach soup, baked fish in a creamy sauce with fresh fruit for desert. Dinner was at at 7.00 pm after our briefing for the next day. Tonight we had pork cutlets and s slice of cake for dessert.

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After breakfast we set off in zodiacs for North Seymour Island. It’s s small flat island with no natural source of water. It’s now late in the dry season (almost on the cusp of the wet season) and the short trees that are about two metres high have lost all their leaves. It looked like a very desolate landscape.

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On the rocky foreshore we could see some gulls with red eyes. These birds are nocturnal feeders. We could also see brown pelicans, blue footed boobies and some Sally Light Food Crabs. Most of the Boobies were very young and hadn’t developed their blue feet yet. The Sally Light Foot Crabs are quite spectacular red crabs with some blue around their mouths. They can be found across all the islands of the archipelago I don’t know where the word ‘Sally’ comes from but the ‘Light Foot’ part of their name comes from their ability to walk for short stretches across water. They are not much good for eating, but the birds like them. We followed a track across the desolate landscape for an hour and saw many Frigate Birds nesting in the low trees.

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These birds are very interesting. The male had a red pouch under its chin which can be inflated to the size of a large grapefruit to attract a mate. He takes about about an hour to completely fill it with air from his lungs. Their body is about the size of a cockatoo but their wings are very long (typical of a sea bird) so that they can soar on the winds. The male builds a nest and then sits near it with his big red pouch displayed. If a female comes along and is attracted by the inflated pouch and also thinks that the nest is suitable for her, then a romance starts and things develop from there. Each pair will have just one egg and their relationship lasts only for one season. These birds don’t catch their own food but act as bullies, chasing other birds and sea lions until they regurgitate their crop and then they dive in on the offerings.

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Late in the morning, we had a snorkel near the rocky cost. I don’t think we saw much that was very exciting but it increased my confidence somewhat. When we arrived on the beach, we could see a Giant Bluer Herron, near the bushes at the back of the beach, drying its wings

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After lunch, we set off for another snorkel from a beach on Bartolome Island. I could see many reef fish around the rocks but I lost contact with the others who had gone around the corner past a large rock pillar. Finding myself all alone, I decided to head back to the beach but the crew picked me up in a zodiac before I could get there. Once aboard, we caught up with the others who were watching some penguins and sea lions in the water.

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The Galapagos Penguins are the most northerly found penguins in the world.

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We went back to the boat for a snack and to get changed into our walking gear for the last activity of the day. This was to climb 365 steps to the lighthouse on the peak of the island. This island is a recently extinct volcano and as we climbed we could see many features of a volcano – ropey lava, tuff, small lava tunnels and obvious streams of rock that are now interesting patterns of consolidated scoria and tuff. From the lighthouse we could see one of the most popular views on the archipelago – a view across a narrow isthmus of land with a triangular pillar of rock pointing skyward by the golden sandy beach.

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We stayed at the lighthouse for half an hour and waited for the sun to go down. The sunset wasn’t extraordinarily but it did capture our attention for a while. Back on the boat. We had a briefing about tomorrow’s activities and then dinner.

This is a very active trip. I don’t mind it at all, and the level of physical activity is OK for me. However, the days are so full, it’s hard to find time to do things like write up a travel blog or call home.

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