Monday, April 25, 2016, Pitt Point, Kicker Rock, San Cristobal Island, Lobos Island
Early breakfast at 6:30am so that we could hike the San Cristobal island trail from 7:15 to 9:30 at Pitt point or Punta Pitt. We had a wet beach landing and shoe change. Then up the beach passing sea lions to take the trail up into the mountains. We went about up for about 25 min on a rocky, steep trail to midway up the Ash Mountain (very much like shale rock). Then we did a trail around the flat plateau and saw an amazing amount of Blue Footed Boobies both doing mating dances and some nesting with their eggs. To think I almost didn’t go on this hike because Andres had said that if you start you must finish as he couldn’t break up the group. I didn’t want my fear of heights to spoil this for the group. I spoke with Andres separately and he encouraged me that from what he’d seen me do, I would do fine. And I did! The Adventurous Chicken is doing more!
At the point where we stopped climbing, the trail leveled out to an gentle incline along a plateau over to the cliff area. As we walked we saw the mating dance of blue footed boobies multiple times. Closer to the cliffs, we saw the ‘Changing of the guard ‘ as the male or female bird would take turns sitting on the eggs while the other bird went out to feed. Blue footed boobies often sit on 3 eggs. Andres said that most likely only 2 will hatch and then probably one will make it. We only saw 2 eggs at most, as other birds and reptiles will steal the eggs when they can. Boobies whistles are male, female sound is more like a honk. Females also have larger eyes, actually it is the pupil. Male pupil is smaller than the females. So it looks like they have smaller eyes.
The sequence of steps we saw for the mating dance
( I wish I could put the video here for you to hear the whistles and honks as they go thru this. When I get Kai’s video and Bob’s video’s ready for the website, I will put a link on the last page. I think I will be able to put the video’s on another site of mine and then just link to it.) Click on the above pictures and you can see them using a carousel slideshow.
The picture below by Annie and Ryan is a great still capture of the fancy footwork that goes on during this dance.
In the distance we saw red footed boobies in the trees. Many small lizards. Continuing on the trail towards the cliffs we saw Blue Footed Bobbies with eggs. Both the female and male take turns sitting on the eggs and going out to see to feed. Below is a sequence of photos where we witnessed the changing of the sitting bird.
Walking to the cliff area we saw many more birds and views back down the trail. It was a wonderful hike!
Then back down the trail. Fog lifted. Much warmer. We were very lucky to have an early time for the hike. This is supposed to be the hardest hike on the 8 day trip. Many other groups were just coming up.
We had time to see the sea lions now.
Time to head back to the Anahi, we took off our shoes, rinsed shoe bottoms and got back in the pangas. They took us on a panga tour around a small volcanic rock island to see many sea lions, 2 pelicans, tons of storm petrals, frigate birds soaring, both blue and red footed boobies on the ledges.
Back on the boat, we change to swim suits and sail to Kicker Rock for another deep water snorkel. Plan is to see big fish and sharks there. Kicker Rock is also known as Leon Dormido, sleeping lion. Shape of rocks can be interpreted as a lion laying down.
Snorkeling was advanced, deep water and current. Saw many big Galapagos Sharks with white line on body. Bat rays and Manta rays. The visibility was ok, not as good as yesterday. They say visibility changes approx every 15 days. Coldest water gives the best visibility at Kicker Rock.
The many views of Kicker Rock as we sailed around it
Next we took the pangas to Lobos Island to see more sea lions, frigate birds, boobies, sally light-foot grabs and pelicans. Interesting geology as the island was formed as the volcano pushed up the island leaving the old island where what is now coral sand and all along the shore is pillow volcanic rock that formed under water and now surrounds the island. The coral sand is back from the surf line anywhere from 20 to 100 ft.
Sailed to main town on San Cristobal, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, which is the capital of the area and a harbor. Went in to check emails and walk around the town. Many day trip tours can be done from here. The is very nice. This would be a good place to stay for part of a trip here if we came back to do day trips from the islands.
Farewell to these new friends and Kai, Karla and Sayoa that for some reason I don’t have pictures to share.
The end to an exhilarating and wonderful day. Tomorrow, we go to see tortoises. New passengers will join after lunch tomorrow.