Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
When their body temperature is high enough, they go into the ocean and dive down for algae that grows on rocks. They have an ingenious mechanism for processing the salt in the water - they spit it out. When resting on the beach, all of a sudden one will spew forth a very salty spray out of its nose.
There are also land iguanas in Galapagos, but we'll save those for another day. I have a zillion marine iguana pics, but here are two where I like the composition of the shot, not just close ups of the iguanas. There will be more to come though - we saw these creatures every day, on every island.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I also saw a giant Eagle Ray - at least 6 feet across. I watched it move a rock with its nose and look under it on the ocean floor. It was too deep to get a photo of, and I was surprised how large its head was.
The snorkeling in Galapagos offered huge numbers of fish, more than I have ever seen elsewhere. I saw turtles, swam with sea lions every time, and got to see a shark and a ray - doesn't get much better than that!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
This endangered, large seabird flies incredible distances, staying out to see months at a time. Lately there has been an issue with some fishermen in Peru catching them in fishing nets on purpose and consuming them - a problem biologists and the governments involved are working on. It doesn't apparently bother some to consume endangered species.
It is not hard to see hoe this bird got into trouble. Breeding on only one island, breeding only every other year, and raising only one young can make for some population limitations. The birds have a bright yellow beak and a frosted light yellow head. As with all things in the Galapagos, you can get amazingly close to these birds. We were within a few feet of several of them, which was quite a privilege.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
We often saw sea lions on our island walks, and they never moved away. Though at times past they were killed by visiting sailors or pirates, the sea lions in the islands are generally very, very trusting of people. We walked within a foot of them, often having to step over them or very nearly so on many of the islands. Sometimes sea lions would walk past us, or even along with us.
We saw (and heard) them nursing. We saw healthy young, and unfortunately, a few who lost their moms and were not going to make it. We saw wet sea lions, dry sea lions, sea lions of all sizes. We saw them swimming, sleeping, and playing.
Once in awhile a big male would warn us to stay out of his territory with big deep barks. No problem - easy enough to do. They were never any threat. I have been shocked that nearly every person who asked about the trip, when Is aw we snorkeled with sea lions, says "Isn't that dangerous?" These are gentle creatures that eat fish. They chose to approach us, we are not approaching them. They are a million times faster than us in the water. They come over to play and check us out - it would never occur to me to be the least bit fearful of them as long as one is respectful of their space.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The first island in the Galapagos we set foot on (aside from Baltra, where the plane landed) was Bartolome. It doesn't have a ton of wildlife, but it has a boardwalk where you can climb to the top of the island for a famous view of Pinnacle Rock. (Personally, anything I climb I prefer to have a mammal - or ideally many - at the top, and otherwise it's a bit of a bust.....even though views are nice, they are not always worth the time and effort). This was not a bad trek though, there was some wildlife along the way - lava lizards, a few birds, a painted grasshopper, ants, and a Galapagos snake.