Darwin Lake, Isabela Island
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
15 Days In The Galapagos Islands
This was our last full day in the Galapagos Islands. As such, today's excursions and tonight's anchorage were all in close proximity to the airport on Baltra Island (aka South Seymour Island).
It was a relatively short ride from the Plaza Islands on the east coast of Santa Cruz to North Seymour Island on the northern side of Santa Cruz where our first two excursions for the day would take place.
North Seymour Walk
This morning the Zodiacs dropped us off (dry landing) on North Seymour Island where we carefully walked up the lave rocks to the trail.
Though there were sea lions and Marine Iguanas on the rocks, this island is mostly known for being a nesting site for frigatebirds and Blue-footed Boobies.
We walked along the sandy trail and soon came to a nesting area for frigatebirds.
Now, in the Galapagos, there are two species of frigatebirds, the Magnificent Frigatebird and the Great Frigatebird. The Magnificent is slightly larger and has a purple sheen on its feathers while the Great Frigatebird has a green sheen on its feathers. But in most circumstances, they are very difficult to distinguish.
In a batch of photos from the Galapagos Islands, there is almost always a photo of a male frigatebird displaying its inflated, red throat pouch in an effort to attract females. We had not yet seen that, and our first guide told us breeding season was over and that we wouldn't likely see them display.
Ah, but she was wrong.
That was certainly the highlight of this walk. We saw frigatebird chicks in various stages of development and a couple of Blue-footed Boobies, but not much else. Oh, there were a few Land Iguanas, and this one just happened to be rather photogenic.
We completed the trail and waited on the rocky shore to be picked up.
Back on board, we prepared for snorkeling. Our guide is also a dive master, and he decided we were going to do a deep water snorkel in the channel between North Seymour and South Seymour (aka Baltra) to look for sharks.
Linda doesn't really like the deep water snorkeling, so she decided to stay on the ship.
North Seymour Snorkel
We swam around in the deeper water for several minutes and didn't see anything of note, so we then swam over to the North Seymour shoreline to see what we could see there.
I got a couple of nice fish photos including this King Angelfish.
And here's a video that covers most of what we saw.
Eventually, I wandered away from the group (as I tend to do) and then a White-tipped Reef Shark swam by. I followed it with the video camera for about a minute.
Shortly after that, it was time to go so I swam over to the Zodiac for pick-up.
Back onboard the ship, we learned that Linda and the others that didn't go snorkeling saw a large Galapagos Shark that swam around the back of the boat for a little while. Unfortunately, she didn't think to get a camera until it was too late.
By then, the crew had replaced the anchor, and we moved over to the northern side of Santa Cruz just off of Bachas Beach. After lunch, the Zodiacs dropped us off on the beach.
Bachas Beach Walk & Snorkel
After all we had seen in our two weeks in the Galapagos, this stop was rather anti-climactic. It was a pretty beach, but we had seen prettier with fewer people.
There was some wildlife like herons, flamingos, and Marine Iguanas, but there weren't large numbers and there was nothing we hadn't already seen.
In fact, with a beach snorkel planned after our walk, I took only the waterproof camera and snapped very few photos.
From the sandy beach, we walked around the lava rocks past this area where we would snorkel later.
We continued on around the rocks to another sandy beach where there are remnants of two old barges with jagged metal sticking up out of the white sand. Apparently, I didn't take photos of this commonly photographed sight, or the photos just weren't good and I deleted them (more likely the latter).
This is a turtle nesting beach, so we were very careful not to walk near the dunes where we might disturb nests. Soon, we came to a short path to a lagoon where there were a couple of flamingos and some Marine Iguanas. I remember taking photos there, but they likely were rubbish in comparison to what I already had.
After a short time at the lagoon, we donned our snorkel gear and waded into the water. There wasn't a lot to see, but we did come across a couple of very large Diamond Stingrays.
After a relatively mundane visit to Bachas Beach, everyone was ready to head back, so our guide called for the Zodiacs which picked us up on the beach where the dropped us off.
Back on the Domenica, we got cleaned up and relaxed for a bit before our last briefing and our farewell dinner.
The sunset was lovely.
We finished off the evening thanking our crew and having a nice conversation with the other guests. But since we all were departing and to catch flights the next day, we called it an early night.
Tomorrow, we have one early morning excursion and then we will pack and head to the airport. Though our last full day in the Galapagos Islands may not have been as special as some of the other days, it still included some great moments and we're glad we didn't miss any of them.
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