FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from

Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Galapagos Diary, Day Two: Morning on Española

The next morning we were up at 6 a.m. to see Española (Hood) Island at Punta Suarez. The guide for our group was Grace.

Animals spotted: Sea lions, blue-footed boobies, red-headed (lava) lizards, mockingbirds, pink iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, albatrosses, gulls, Nazca boobies, heron, Galápagos doves in the rocks on the path, and finches – cactus, warbler, and small ground finches.

Española is one of the oldest of the islands at 3.5 million years old. [Thanks to Scott Hatfied for the correction.] A baby sea lion was asleep right next to the path onto which we disembarked. A booby sat on the park sign. A mockingbird landing in the sand near me and squawked repeatedly. On the beach, a sea lion came out of the water and launched itself at our group while barking aggressively, and Grace made us back off. (She really didn't have to instruct us in this!) It sniffed the sand where our footprints were, then plopped down right there and went to sleep, while the mockingbird circled on its thin legs and squawked the whole time.

The path was difficult to negotiate, all large, dark volcanic rocks. Even I had trouble.

On the path, while Grace spoke, a blue-footed booby (right, and below left) sat down next to her and stared at her, then watched each of us in turn as we passed. The finches, according to Grace, attack the abandoned Albatross eggs, rolling them against the pointed rocks until they crack.

At the cliffs, a mockingbird ate from an opened albatross egg while we watched, and then a lava lizard charged the bird and scared it off, though it did not go far, and ate of the egg, too. Grace said that she had never seen before, so she took photos.

I took this photograph (below, left) of a juvenile Nazca booby that is standing on a rock just feet from me.

On the panga back to the ship we see three sea lions playing with an obviously dead iguana. Later we learn that this is a routine hazard for marine iguanas - the sea lions don't mean anything by it.



Blogger Brightchild said...

it's not nice to colorize the blue boobies' feet

May 30, 2007 10:12 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Yeah, I tried to tell the Boobies that I was onto them - "I mean, quit with the bright blue paint!" - but they just stared at me.

That courtship dance, too - totally fake - so 1980s. Come on.

Sea lions plopping across the trail and falling asleep? What is that? How phony is that? And excuse me, iguanas, please don't look up my shorts!

And that frigate bird crapping on that man's hat - obviously staged - but classic! ;-)

May 31, 2007 9:55 AM  
Blogger Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Hi, Kristine. I just got a Blogger account and I thought I would try it out by posting on your blog. And, I don't mean to be picky, but I don't think any of the Galapagos are more than 60 million years old.

June 01, 2007 12:15 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

*Gasp* No, thanks very much for the correction! That's a bad slip.
I'm glad you visited.

June 01, 2007 9:34 AM  
Blogger Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Hi, Kristine. For some reason, I didn't see all the pictures earlier. They're lovely. Thanks for sharing them, you made my day!

June 01, 2007 8:57 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

That's because they weren't up earlier. (Because of my hideously slow dial-up connection at home.) I loaded them later.

Thanks, it's pretty hard to take a bad photo in the Galapagos.

There's more to come - and today I just received some photos sent to me from a couple who went to see the large tortoises on Santa Cruz the day I was busy estaba-ing inferma! ;-) But I'll get to that.

June 01, 2007 9:47 PM  
Blogger Royale said...

Oh this bringing back some great memories for me. I went there in June 1997 (yes, 10 yr anniversary almost) and believe it or not, got BIO credits for it in college.

Well, we flew into San Cristobal, but did visit Baltra.

One of the best nights of my life was the boat ride to Rabida. Standing on the bow of our boat, rough waters, gorgeous sunset.

Just curious, but which tour group did you use? I've been meaning to go back.

Did you get to see much of the mainleand besides Quito?

June 02, 2007 6:10 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I went through the Center for Inquiry, who used Ladatco Tours. Our ship was the M/V Santa Cruz.

No, I didn't see much of Guayaquil, and that was our only destination inside Ecuador besides Quito - I felt tired and grungy and was a little depressed about leaving that ship. Even after leaving I used to feel the rocking of the ship whenever I closed my eyes, but no longer. (I don't remember how the Boobies sounded, either.)

But I never got my sea legs though! I never got seasick, nothing like that, but at times I despaired of walking from one side of the salon or the deck to the other without making a fool of myself. There's a funny story about that, coming up.

June 02, 2007 7:16 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home