Galapagos Adventure, June 2001


Tuesday, June 5 on Espanola
AM: Gardner Bay
PM: Punta Suarez

   On Espanola, we stopped first on Gardner Bay, a lovely, quiet bay. After a tour on the beach, we headed back to the Parranda. The water was clear and we could see pufferfish swimming alongside the boat. Karen used this as her first foray into snorkeling on the trip, here in the panga with Fran Masters.
   Here's Karen and Fran snorkeling while Richard kayaks alongside.
   In the afternoon, we went around the island to Punta Suarez, one of the best places to birdwatch, with large populations of boobies and albatrosses. Here are three Blue-Footed Boobies, with the two on the right going through the clasic mating ritual, where the male alternatively raises each foot in a stiff dance.
   Then there is a flapping of wings as the hopeful male tries to impress the available female.
   We also saw a Galapagos Dove. When in doubt as to the name of an animal in the Galapagos, it helps to remember that most are named with one of three names: Galapagos, Darwin or Lava!
   These are Albatrosses "beak fencing," again part of a mating ritual. The field they are on is an "albatros airport," where they land when returning from their long oversea flights. Albatrosses are sea birds that can spend months flying over the ocean, catching fish and processing the fish to store fish oil which they feed their young.
   Albatrosses are big, heavy birds, with a wingspanof over 6 feet. They soar well, but do not have enough wing power to take off from level ground. Just a few feet from the "albatros airport" is a hundred foot tall cliff with high winds and great updrafts, perfect for their takeoffs. Here one is testing the winds.
   When the situation is just right, he leaps over the cliff and takes off.

 And he soars out over the ocean, headed for a flight of up to 9,000 miles in search of food.

When they return, heavy with a couple of gallons of fish oil, they have trouble landing too. We saw one land, and I think the best description is "controlled crash."

   Espanola also has large colonies of marine iguanas, here lounging on the rocks. Remember they are reptiles - cold blooded. When hot, they align themselves with the sun, like here, to minimize the heat.


Overnight, we headed north to Sante Fe, also known as Barrington.

Wednesday, June 6

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