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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

Friday, July 27, 2007

Galapagos Diary: Day Three - Fernandina

On Sunday morning, Mother's Day, we visited Fernandina, one of the youngest of the islands. We walked on the smooth and roping Pahoehoe lava, which emerges from the volcano as a liquid or close to it, en route inland to see the sharper A'a lava, which emerges less liquidy and therefore hardens into shards that are very difficult on which to walk.

Fabian, our guide, pointed out the many marine iguanas that lounged on the Pahoehoe, as well as a Blue Heron and Flightless Cormorants.

As we watched, one emerged from the sea with seaweed in her beak to lay it onto a nest right in the path and settle down; then the male emerged from the other end of the small peninsula on which we stood, carrying seaweed in his beak as well. She, sitting on the nest, squawked at him, and he, with his beak full, squawked right back as he waddled to the nest. He did his own nest building, and then they both settled down for a good joint squawking.

The lagoon looked fresh and inviting, but it was just a tunnel letting in salt water from the ocean. It was a hot, hot day, and soon I was exhausted from walking in the sun on that dark, heat-sucking Pahoehoe. When we finally reached the A'a lava I saw how it can play tricks on the eyes, and seem to hold animal shapes within it.

The skeleton (obviously neatly rearranged) of an unidentified whale are below left; the GPS marker for the Nazca Plate, on which most of the island ride, is below, and some intact sea urchin shells that we found and photographed (since beachcombing is forbidden) are below right.

More photos of the lava below.



Blogger Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

That's just totally awesome and I'm just totally envious. As you might imagine from listening to the scrap of score that I've linked to on-line, going to the Galapagos would be a real pilgrimage for me.

July 28, 2007 6:40 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Well, Scott, I don't know what you think of this but the Atheist Alliance International is going there this December, and Richard is going along. ;-)

It looks like prices are lower than what I paid.

July 29, 2007 12:19 AM  
Blogger Michael Bains said...

Totally love teh lava pics. Shapes of things do indeed abound, eh.

July 29, 2007 4:29 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Thanks. I think I was more interested in the geology than the animals!

Wait until we get to Isabella (next). Lots and lots of pics of lava.

July 29, 2007 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sat on a lava rock every day for weeks observing the flightless cormorants on Fernandina, in 1977 (we were in GI for 3 years). Our research was to see if tourist visitors had any influence on the breeding biology of these precious birds. What is more I was 7 months pregnant at the time and had quite a walk from "camp" clambering over sharp lava! I was 38 and this was my first child. He is now almost 30.

August 12, 2007 3:18 AM  

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