Tag Archives: Galapagos

Last Day in Baquerizo Moreno – Galapagos

With an entire week at anchor in one harbor, and nearly unchanging weather, the days blend one with the next. But there is a pattern to my experience over time. At first I’m anxiously trying to get oriented, and to quickly choose a first tour (I don’t like to wait and hear everyone else’s stories that begin, “You HAVE to do/go/see…”). Next comes figuring out what else I really do “have to” do (Kicker Rock), and doing it. By then I feel that I’ve had enough of the place, and I wish we were moving on. But it’s not time to go yet. And then I find that I actually settle in. I now know my way around; there is nothing more that I feel the need to do; the people are friendly; the pace is slow and I’m just now starting to match it; I can have a day like today…

Today was our last full day in Baquerizo Moreno, and it was delightful. Relaxed. Many welcome clouds keeping it cool. I went to a travel agent that I had consulted with yesterday, and booked an overnight side-trip/getaway to the island of Isabela (from Santa Cruz – tomorrow’s destination), where I hope to see Galapagos penguins. Then walked to a nice swimming place and had a cool swim/snorkel. Nothing special (no charge!) – just a pleasant swim with the fish and sea lions and pelicans, and chats with several people from far corners of the world who came by. Walked back via the beach – took more photos of iguanas. Went with Pip (Ransom crew) to a cevicheria for a huge bowl of delicious ceviche for lunch. Hung out at the usual cruiser’s ice cream place (one of the few places with wi-fi), and uploaded some photos for the blog. Then walked to the travel agent to pick up my tickets/voucher. Back to the boat in the late afternoon and, after a quick dip and all-important fresh water rinse, enjoyed a peaceful evening, sitting in the cockpit chatting with Tim and watching the sunset.

Kicker Rock – Galapagos

Remember this from our arrival?

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It’s known as Kicker Rock. The Spanish name is the Sleeping Lion; I have no idea why the English and Spanish names are unrelated. Tim and I did a day trip there. It’s an amazing place, with cliffs that not only plummet down to the water but continue straight down into the depths below. Exciting just to see the formation and the sea birds on and over it, but the real treat is snorkeling around it. Three ocean currents meet at the Galapagos – a warm one from Panama, that helped us get here quickly, the cold Humbolt current that comes up the coast of South America, and the deep ocean counter-current that flows opposite of the surface current that will push us toward the Marquesas soon. That confluence leads to great abundance of sea life, as nutrient-rich cold waters mix with the warm. In fact, swimming today the water mostly felt cold (we wore wet suits), but there were many pockets of much warmer water along the way.

Snorkeling next to a sheer wall, with the sunlight shining on the many colors of the wall, plus zillions of fish…quite an experience! Sorry I have neither underwater photos nor the poetic abilities to convey it. Tranquil sea turtles amble by below, while sea lions dart by inches away (sometimes scaring the dickens out of you, when they approach from behind and suddenly appear next to your face!), in the depths a few sharks (not people-threatening ones, though one of our group did spot a hammerhead), colorful fish, and if you dive down 10 feet a school of fish so thick it almost seems solid, all while frigate birds are soaring overhead. With minimal supervision (a guide who would point out what he saw, if you could hear him while snorkeling) we swam around the perimeter for an hour until most of us were exhausted as well as awed.

I do have photos of the rock and the birds on/around it…

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The male Magnificent Frigate looking to attract a mate with its inflated red pouch.

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Masked booby

Masked booby

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Blue-footed boobies

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And surprising in its familiarity, a great blue heron!

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A little hard on the neck...
A little hard on the neck…

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Galapagos Wildlife

First glimpse of Galapagos tortoise.
First glimpse of Galapagos tortoise.

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These photos are from a breeding center, where they protect the young for 10 years, until their shells will protect them, and then release to the wild.  The male here is doing his part, though the female seemed to be uninterested...
These photos are from a breeding center, where they protect the young for 10 years, until their shells will protect them, and then release to the wild. The male here is doing his part, though the female seemed to be uninterested…

We went to a beach where I swam with a large sea turtle.  The water was only 4 or 5 feet deep.  The turtle ignored my presence just a couple of feet away, as it dove to feed on the bottom, and surfaced to breathe.  I don’t do underwater photos, though, so no images for y’all of the turtle.  But there were iguanas and, of course, sea lions…

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The usual view of a frigate bird, soaring high.
The usual view of a frigate bird, soaring high.
But if you climb up to their level...
But if you climb up to their level…

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In Spanish they are called "scissors bird" because of the way they use their tail feathers.
In Spanish they are called “scissors bird” because of the way they use their tail feathers.
Blue-footed booby, unique to the Galapagos.  This is my one photo (so far) where you can zoom in and see the feet.
Blue-footed booby, unique to the Galapagos. This is my one photo (so far) where you can zoom in and see the feet.

The Galapagos are famous for their finches, which were one of the species (actually they evolved into 13 species on the islands) that got Darwin thinking about why/how they had developed different beaks (adapting to the foods they were eating).  Also I find it rather amazing that a mating pair of finches somehow made it to these islands in the first place.  Recent “invasive species” aside, only animals that were blown 700 miles off course, or that could live for a long time drifting (perhaps on a downed tree) across in the current, live here.  Tortoises yes (they can go a long time without fresh water), frogs no (amphibians cannot last long without fresh water), for example.

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