Paul and Ritas World Tour 2005 - Galapagos Islands
A to Z or the Galapagos Islands
A is for Augustine our captain of the Darwin Yacht on which we visited the islands
B is for Boobies, blue footed, nazca and red footed sea birds of which we saw the first two nesting and feeding and diving along the coast. One of the more spectacular sights we frequently watched was a booby diving into the sea from 20 meters up, hitting the water with great speed.
Blue Footed Booby sat on two chicks
Blue Footed Booby and offspring
Blue Footed Booby with two eggs
Young Blue Footed Booby
Nazca Booby, aka Masked Booby
B is also for the Brown Pelican, a sometimes comical bird that frequently followed our boat and is found throughout the Galapagos.
Brown Pelican with Sally Lightfoot crabs behind
Brown Pelican posing for the camera
B again, this time for the Black Neck Stilt
Black Neck Stilt
C is for Cormorants those cool birds hanging out to dry at puerta cormorant,
Isla Florina, sadly they cant even fly.
Sorry, no picture yet
D is for ducks the Bahamas variety in galapagos which dredge with bills along sandy bay to feed.
Sorry, no picture yet
D is also for Darwin, who visited on the Beagle in 1835 and found so many differently evolved endemic species of fauna that he formed his theories of evolution.
Sorry, no picture, couldn't find him. Must be on holiday somewhere else
E is for Isla Espaniola the first island to which we sailed after landing.
Iguanas confront Rita on landing dock of Española island
F is for Finches, Darwins of course of which there are thirteen (allegedly) which formed the basis of his theories on account of their differently developed beaks.
F is also for the greater Flamingo, the bird with the funny shaped beak that spends most of its days with its head stuck in the mud looking for shrimps to eat. There must be more to life!
Greater Flamingo, in an unusual moment with its head out of the water
G is for the Garua cool and dry season of the Galapagos islands of Ecuador, Garua is the breeding season. for many species (we think, but are open to suggestions)
How am I supposed to picture that?
G is also for the Green Sea Turtle. We visited some of their nesting sites and could not only see the tracks left by the females going up the beach to lay their eggs, but thousands of tiny baby turtle footprints heading back to the water and a very uncertain future.
Green Sea Turtle
Turtle tracks on beach
H is for the for the galapagos Hawk endemic to the islands and the top natural predator of the islands.
Galapagos Hawk - yes, its a long way away, but thats as close as we got. At least we saw one!
I is for the Iguanas, marine and land varieties, on of the most famous
endemic evolved species of the islands.
Marine Iguanas on Los Lobos Island
Marine Iguana and Sea Lion swimming together (Ah, thats nice)
Red skinned Marine Iguanas on Española
Iguana forming his own theory of evolution
J is for the Joy (a bit weak, I know) of being on the Galapagos Islands
K is for the hood mocKingbird (its not easy, you know) that lives on Isla Espaņola, which is also know as Hood Island. These birds are very inquisitive and accustomed to humans, and will try and steal water from you given half a chance.
Hood Mockingbird checking us out
L is for Lava Lizards, the small fearless creatures that scurry about the lava rocks on most of the islands, dwarfed by the iguanas, but still interesting to watch
L is also for Laupo the chef on our yacht who deserves a mention for the excellent and varied meals we were promptly served, come winds or high water!!!!
M is for the Magnificent and the Great varieties of frigate birds which inflate their balloon like chest of crimson red to attract the female of the species and hey girls, also builds the nest. If he cant build a nest he aint no good!!
Frigatebird in mating mood
N is for our Nautical baņos in our cabin on board THE Darwin Yacht
Baņos in our cabin, scene of much activity after several rough nights
O is for the american Oystercatcher with long curved bill for fishing around in sand.
We saw these but not sure if we got a photo
P is for the native galapagos Penguins which can swim at 35 km per hour, aka Humboldt
Didn't see these on Galapagos, but be did see Humboldt Penquins in a pub in Peru (no kidding)
P is for Popular, as we saw quite a few things beginning with P. Check out the following:
Palo Santo Trees
Prickly Pear cactus
Q is for the quiver that goes down your back when you see these creatures for the first time. (Ok, I admit it, we're struggling now)
R is for Red Billed Tropicbird, which flew above our heads at great speed,
always appearing to be in a hurry to get somewhere else.
Red Billed Tropicbird
S is for Sally lightfoot
crabs which adorn the black lava rocks of the coast
and are the most colourful of all on the islands, combining bright orange,
red, yellow, turquoise, black and white.
Sally Lightfoot Crab
The Sally Lightfoot Infantry
S is also for the delightful Sunsets we saw from the Darwin Yacht
Sunset from San Cristobel
Sunset from Gardner Bay
T is for the Tortoises of the Galapagos, small medium and Giant, which also helped Darwin form his thoery of evolution. They can live up to 150 years and were taken by pirates from the islands alive and stacked in the hulls of their boats to feed sailors with fresh meat, because they can live so long without food, up to a year! There is a breeding centre at the Darwin Research Station, where Lonely George, the last of his breed from Isla Pinta, is being encourged to breed with females from a nearby island to save the species, but so far it doesn't look like he's going to change his name.
U is for the Ubiquitous Sea Lions, found all over the Galapagos Islands (well, around the coast line, anyway)
V is for the Volcanic nature of all the islands, situated on a hot spot on the Northern edge of Nazca plate, next to the Cocos and Pacific plates. Eruptions continue to force sea bed above the surface of the water exposing upturned coral. The last eruption was recently in Isla Ferdinand.
Tectonic plates around the Galapagos Islands
Volcanic rocks form the shoreline of Los Lobos Island
W is for the Waved albatross colony found at Punta Suarez on Isla Espanola. Not the largest albatross in the world but with impressive wing span of 2.4meters
Waved Albatross in flight
Waved Albatross mating dance
X is for the xcitement of the group to find a white tip shark following our boat one evening
Too dark to get a picture
Y is for the pretty yellow warblers
of the islands which are in abundance
Z is for the sound of all the tired passengers snoozing on the boat after yet another all night sailing from one island to another