Darwin Lake, Isabela Island
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
15 Days In The Galapagos Islands
We woke up this morning in the calm waters off the northern coast of Floreana Island.
Out from our anchorage was the sunken crater known as Devil's Crown (or Corona del Diablo) which is known as an excellent diving and snorkeling spot. Our second excursion of the day would be there.
As usual, we had breakfast and then boarded the Zodiacs for the first excursion of the day, a walk at the Visitor Site known us Cormorant Point (or Punta Cormorant).
We had a "wet" landing on the beach. It's known as a green sand beach, but I didn't really notice that much of a green tint.
We walked the beach and I pointed out a Lava Heron to the others. There really wasn't much to those few minutes we spent there except we did enjoy watching the Blue-footed Boobies plunge diving for fish in the bay.
They would dive into the water and then pop back up like a beach ball. I captured this on the video below, although I didn't do the best job - my camera work might make you a little dizzy.
After a short time on the "green" beach, we walked inland to a large lagoon known for being a flamingo feeding site. There were several flamingos in the distance.
From there, we continued on the trail up and over a ridge leading down to a second beach.
It was a beautiful beach with powdery sand. However, wading could be a little treacherous as we saw several stingrays in the shallow water. We also saw some sea turtles out there. This beach is a nesting beach for the turtles, and the track below indicated one had been on the beach earlier.
Other than that, there wasn't much to see on this beach. Although, I did get one of my best Sally Lightfoot Crab photos of the trip.
After a relatively short time there, we walked back over the ridge to the green sand beach where we were picked up by the Zodiacs and taken back to the boat.
Devil's Crown Snorkel
On the big boat, we donned our snorkel gear and then headed out to Devil's Crown. Our guide joined us as we were dropped off in deep water east of the formation. I believe his goal was to see if we could find some sharks.
We didn't see any sharks and the water was really cold, so we quickly paddled to get warmed up. We headed around the outside wall on the north where we did see a large school of Pelican Barracuda and some Golden Rays (aka Golden Cow-nosed Rays or Golden Stingrays) far below us.
Then a lone Galapagos Sea Lion came from the depths to check us out briefly. Very short video below.
The rest of the snorkel was about the tropical fish. We saw lots of the beautiful King Angelfish and Yellow-tailed Surgeonfish as well as several Streamer Hogfish (aka Mexican Hogfish), a Hieroglyphic Hawkfish, a Guineafowl Puffer (yellow stage), many parrotfish, different species of wrasses, and a large school of Blue & Gold Snapper. Of course there were lots of others that weren't quite as easy to identify.
The following three-minute video provides a decent overview.
On the western side of Devil's Crown, a large Spotted Eagle Ray swam under us.
Eventually, we made our way "inside the crown". It was shallow and quite pretty. It was almost time to go, and I was wishing we had more time to spend inside the crater and explore the little nooks and crannies. Here's another video of a quick swim across the vibrant colors.
Our time was up, so we used the ladders to climb aboard the Zodiacs and went back to the Domenica for hot chocolate, hot showers, and lunch.
In the afternoon, we boarded the Zodiacs for a ride farther west along the north coast of Floreana to Post Office Bay.
Post Office Bay Historical Stop & Snorkel
We did a wet landing on the beach at Post Office Bay which is named for the rudimentary "post office" established in 1793.
Apparently, 18th century whalers set up a wooden barrel on Floreana where they could deposit letters to be picked up and delivered by other sailors heading for home. The sailors would look through the mail, check the addresses, and take the letters that were addressed to locations near their home which could be hand delivered.
This system worked quite well for the sailors. Today, tourists leave letters and postcards addressed all over the world in the barrel. They then look through the mail taking items that are addressed to their hometowns or nearby. The fun part is to hand deliver the items from the Galapagos, but many will just take them home, put a stamp on them, and drop them in the mail.
We spent some time there looking through the mail and picked up one postcard to take back to the U.S. But I wasn't really all that interested and was ready to return to the beach.
At the beach, we had the option of snorkeling or just hanging out. Linda decided to sit, and I went into the water. Before I got too far, those on the shore were pointing to a pair of penguins swimming nearby.
I quickly paddled over and had a very brief encounter. They weren't in "play" mode, so it was very difficult to get photos, but I got a short video and snagged one decent picture from the video.
They didn't stick around long, but that was fun while it lasted.
The rest of the snorkel time was spent with several Green Sea Turtles that were feeding.
Below, I have a five-minute video of several turtles feeding. Some of them are the largest I've seen here in the Galapagos. Of course, five minutes is a long time to watch turtles eating on a video, so I'll understand if you skip it.
Over half of our group decided not to snorkel, so after a reasonable amount of time those of us in the water got out so we could all go back to the ship.
Once onboard, we got cleaned up, but with a relatively short overnight trip, there was no reason to leave right away.
A few of us went out in a Zodiac one last time before dark. Our driver took us to a small cove where a reliable penguin hangs out. Linda's always up for seeing penguins.
On the way back, a couple of sea lions decided to follow us. Linda stuck the GoPro in the water and ended up with decent video.
Arriving back at the ship with Devil's Crown in the background.
It was a lovely evening as we went through our usual nightly routine - briefing for the next day, dinner, some conversation, and early to bed.
Another great day in the Galapagos.