Darwin Lake, Isabela Island
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
15 Days In The Galapagos Islands
After an all night trip around the north end of Isabela Island, this morning we pulled into a quiet bay off the northwest coast of Santiago Island.
After breakfast, the Zodiacs dropped us off on Espumilla Beach (a wet landing).
This "excursion" was basically a beach walk. I read there is a lagoon inland behind the mangroves, but our guide said it was dry.
We walked south along the beach as far as we could go in bare feet.
The view was quite nice from the south end of the beach.
On the way back, Linda walked along the mangroves with some others to look for birds while I stayed out on the beach watching the pelicans feeding.
And I got to witness some behavior I had just read about. The Brown Noddy Terns are known to follow the pelicans while they are feeding and land on the pelicans' heads. The terns wait for small fish to escape from the pelicans' pouches.
Here's a video where I tried to capture this. It's not great camera work, but you get the idea.
Espumilla is a nesting beach for sea turtles, and a turtle came ashore in front of us.
She rested a bit, but apparently didn't like all the people and turned around and went back out to sea.
We had just a short time on the beach before boarding the Zodiacs and getting back on the Domenica.
We then moved to James Bay where we had lunch and prepared for our afternoon excursions at Puerto Egas.
Puerto Egas Walk
The Zodiacs picked us up and took us away from the ship where they dropped us off on the rocks at the grotto area known to be a spot where Galapagos Fur Seals hang out.
As I mentioned in a prior post (Day 3 - Genovesa Island) when we first encountered the fur seals, they are not "seals" at all. They are actually a different species of sea lion.
They are nocturnal feeders, so they aren't very active during the day and, sure enough, we found two sleeping in the rocks.
Also in that area we found a Yellow-crowned Night Heron and a Great Blue Heron.
We left the beautiful grotto area and continued on the beach walking toward James Bay and our boat. It was a stunning place filled with birds, iguanas, sea lions, and crabs.
I took so many photos on this tour, it was hard to choose which ones to post. Here are some of the best.
At the end of our walk, we continued down a path to a lower, black sand beach where our snorkeling gear was waiting for us.
Before going into the water, I took pictures of a juvenile Galapagos Hawk and the natural arch formation on the point.
James Bay Snorkel
We donned our mask, snorkel, and fins and waded into the water to swim around for awhile.
There were lots of colorful fish, several turtles, and a couple of sea lions that swam by.
And here's a little video of a good-sized Spotted Eagle Ray.
After snorkeling, the Zodiacs picked us up on the beach, and we took the short ride back to the ship.
After we warmed up and got our showers, we went up on deck. The crew had already raised the anchor, and we were underway for our long overnight journey to San Cristobal Island.
Sailing around the northwestern coast of Santiago Island, our guide pointed out "Bishop Rock".
Behind Bishop Rock is another rock formation that looks like an elephant. You may have to use some imagination.
Here is the front on view of the peninsula that includes Bishop Rock (far right).
Continuing on around the northern side of Santiago, we got a brief look at some distant dolphins, and our guide had us scanning the open water for leaping Giant Manta Rays. It took a keen eye and some luck, but we managed to see the flashes of a few flying out of the water just before sunset.
The sun was setting behind us as we went down to the main deck for our briefing and dinner.
It was a lovely end to another wonderful day here in the Galapagos Islands.