Galapagos – 17 – Wed, April 16, 2016, Española Island

We went to Española island in the morning, also known as Hood Island. This volcanic island was formed from one volcano.  We had a dry landing and walked the island to see Marine Iguanas, just one pair of nesting blue footed boobies, but many other blue footed boobies moving about, lava lizards, mocking birds and some juvenile Nazca boobies.

Above was just the first few minutes getting off the panga


Notice the group of Marine Iguanas, they are hard to see

This was our first time seeing the endemic Albatross.  They mate on this island.  The males arrive first, then the females. Each time a female flies over the males get up and make noise. They pair for life and come back to the same nesting site, although the birds will change mates if one does not come back.  It takes approximately 45 days for an egg to hatch; then they care and feed hatch-ling for about 5 months.  The Albatross leave the island separately after about 5 months.  The offspring will come back to the same island but not for 5 years when they are ready to mate.  We saw the territorial fights of young males coming back into nesting areas trying to hold an area and attract a female.


This is the landscape where the Albatross nest

We walked to the cliff area and watched the blow hole.


Walking across the island to the cliff side


A pair of Blue Footes Boobies we passed on our way across the island


The blow hole and cliff area, lots of birds, seals and marine iguanas

Near the end of the 2.5 hour walk we saw 2 Galapagos Hawks.  Many males will mate with one female and then all of them will feed the hatch-ling. The most common food for hawks are Marine Iguanas.


Galapagos Hawk, they keep their distance from tourists

We went back to boat had lunch and they moved the boat to a deep water snorkel at Gardner Island, which is just off shore of Española Island.

Much clearer water than yesterday. Small area with lots of rocks on the bottom with a very steep drop off.  Some also saw more Galapagos sharks.  We also saw rays, many types of tropical fish and schools of brightly colored fish.


2nd deck of the Anahi with Gardiner Island in the background

Briefly back on the boat, then off to Gardner Bay to a very long, fine white sand beach.  Shallow snorkeling, swimming, walking along the beach. Aqua marine water, sort of shallow and quite warm today.

Great day and a beautiful evening!



Anahi in the sunset

Galapagos – 18
Galapagos – 16

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Galapagos – 13

This post is about day 3 of 8 days on the Anahi Catamaran, Sunday, April 24, 2016.  We went to South Plaza Island and Santa Fe Island.


We woke up early in a cove between South and North Plaza Islands near Santa Cruz Island  in the ‘mistral’ which we would call fog.  At first you are disappointed to see fog.  Then you realize the hiking part will be much cooler and the fog will soon be gone.


‘Mistral’ morning, or foggy!

Today started with a long hike on South Plaza Island.


Looking back at the rocks and rocky dock for arriving on the island.

This was the place to see Land Iguanas, Sea Lions and more sea birds than anyone could imagine.  We spent about two hours hiking around the island. The cactus on this island are much bigger and have large trunks.

The various cactus ‘trees’

The Land Iguanas are various shades of tan, brown and reddish.  They seem to match the area where you see them.

Land Iguanas

These cactus ‘paddles’ are the favorite food for land iguanas and we were lucky enough to come upon a cactus leaf that had fell down.  The iguanas were all fighting for position to eat the leaf.  Also, we found that we needed to be careful of our position as they would also come at our group if we got close to the food.

Land Iguana’s feeding frenzy!

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Annie & Ryan’s photos

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Annie & Ryan’s photos

This island had quite varied terrain.  We walked over rocky paths and then out to steep cliffs along the ocean where sea lions lounged and many sea birds were resting.  We also saw a powerful blow hole along the cliffs.  We saw many more land iguanas and small lizards on our way to the cliffs.


Cute birds, didn’t catch the name


Lava lizard, about 6 inches


Cliff area, lots of birds, sea lions on the ledge


Cliff area



Blue Footed Boobies



Blowhole picture taken by our guide

We Saw sea lions and baby sea lions playing in the rocky surf. We later hiked across  the island to see where the  bachelor sea lions hang out.  These light buoys mark hazards for ships.


Light buoy


Bachelor sea lion, resting

Exhilarated and hot, we headed back to boat around 10:30 am. As always, the staff was waiting for us with cold drinks and helping everyone on-board.  During lunch the ship moved to Santa Fe island where we had deep water snorkel after lunch then the boat was moved again. Overall, on this day we did 3 snorkel trips;  deep water and drift current at the end of Santa Fe beach for big fish; then just inside the natural breakwater with sea lions; and finally near the center of the group of islands for eagle and golden rays and a turtle cleaning station  with a turtle actually there.  On the way, we saw a Hammerhead Shark from the boat but we never got to see any while we were snorkeling.


Deep water snorkel spot with current and big fish


Second snorkel spot was outside this bay.  We worked our way into the bay.

Inside the bay, the water was warm and clear.  We followed around the point and swam with sea lions and many beautiful fish.  We have GoPro video but it is not yet edited.  I will try to post the video that Kai of our group has finished soon.  It has a lot of footage of this bay and the point.


They finally corralled us all back to boat and we had a brief rest then took the pangas to Santa Fe beach. Here we did another long hike looking for yellow ground iguanas that are a different species from morning,  sea lions, mice & snakes. We didn’t see any snakes, which was OK with me.


Walking into the highlands


Looking back at the boat



Yellow land iguana


Small lizard


Sea Lions on Santa Fe Island

Back on the ship to get ready for dinner, then after dinner our naturalist Andres Moreano had a slide show of his photos.  By now our group was quite comfortable with each other.  After dark we would usually end up on the 3rd deck (sun deck) which we renamed the ‘moon deck’ as we used it to check out all the stars in the southern hemisphere.

Tomorrow we start earlier,  hard hike then back for sail for other islands. It was hard to imagine that a day could be more action packed than today.  But we were looking forward to it!

Galapagos – 14

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