Monday, April 25, 2016, Pitt Point, Kicker Rock, San Cristobal Island, Lobos Island
Day 4 Schedule
East & West Itineraries
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!
The beautiful beach at Pitt Pt. Much larger than it looks from this distance.
Thru the vegetation to the trail up the mountain; we will come back to see the sea lions
The start of the trail
At the start of the plateau trail
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.
Mating Dance start
Mating Dance, male display
Mating Dance, male tail up
Mating dance, male turns and tail up
Mating dance, walking
Mating dance back to female
Mating dance, female stays
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.
Blue Footed Boobies, fancy footwork!
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.
Calling to mate
Notice the egg
Moving in to sit on the egg
Original sitting bird, leaving
Getting settled to stay
I’m out of here!
Walking to the cliff area we saw many more birds and views back down the trail. It was a wonderful hike!
Shrubs at the top of the cliffs
Nesting Blue Footed Boobie
More Blue Footed Boobies
Location of Blue Footed Boobie
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.
Group walking ahead
Looking down on the Anahi and another boat
The fog lifting
We had time to see the sea lions now.
All ready for my picture!
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.
Bob and Jake
Heading out to the rock
Sea lions on the ledges
See how close they could manuver the pangas
So many birds in the air
Birds 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.
Kicker Rock in the distance
First view of Kicker Rock
The many views of Kicker Rock as we sailed around it
Note the panga, it gives you an idea of the size of Kicker Rock. Again, need to post the underwater video to give the full impact of this snorkel.
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.
Landing rocks at Lobos Island
The Sea Lions take over the landing area
The rocks are ‘pillow volcanic rocks’. Kicker Rock in the background.
Lizard on ‘pillow rock’
Protecting his female
Rejected suitor taking off
Walking on pillow rock, not so easy
Sally light-foot crab
Our wonderful group, unfortunately 7 of the group signed up for just 5 days. Our group got along so well, we hated to see them go!
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.
Beautiful town from the harbor, we went in on the pangas
Walk along the harbor
Beautiful sunset to end a fantastic day!
Captain and crew at evening cocktails for part of the groups last night
More of the great crew
Farewell to these new friends and Kai, Karla and Sayoa that for some reason I don’t have pictures to share.
Ryan and Annie
Lori and Jeff
Shannon and Jake
The end to an exhilarating and wonderful day. Tomorrow, we go to see tortoises. New passengers will join after lunch tomorrow.
Galapagos – 13
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