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Galapagos Days 14-15

Genovesa and Santa Cruz Islands

Sept 9, Day 14

El Barranco, Genovesa Island
Today we went to Genova Island, which I think of as fluffball island. The whole island is a nursery for red footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and frigate birds. There are no predators like hawks on the island so you can see nesting boobies and babies everywhere. The babies are all giant white fluffballs (see pics). We also went to an area where there are often owls and while other groups reported seeing no owls, our eagle eyed guide, Fadi, managed to spot one that we could barely make out as they blend into the brown colored terrain. She then managed to spot not one, but two more! I got some pics of one sitting and flying (see pics). Truth be told, I was just pointing in the right direction and snapping pics as the darn things blend so much it was hard to see them unless they were moving. I got lucky three times and those are the pictures you will see.

Afterwards, we did the last snorkel of the trip. We saw some fish, one turtle, and out of the water on the rocks were a bunch of fur seal sealions (sealions that resemble seals so they are called fur seals even though they are a variety of sea lion). However, the fur seals were very lazy and we couldn’t coax any of them into the water with us!

Darwin Bay, Genovesa
We skipped the afternoon excursion as it was a wet landing, and we all had had enough of wet landings, plus there was nothing on the walk to see that we hadn’t seen already. All the days of non stop going was starting to wear on me a bit, and an afternoon off was much needed! Apparently we missed some great times with playful sea lions.

These smaller ships are not as stable as the usual giant Celebrity ships we go on so there is a fair amount of rocking side to side, even when we are anchored off an island. Usually the 5th floor is even more stable as there are 9 decks above it, but here we are the second highest floor. It can make going to the bathroom very challenging, but even worse, it makes me more susceptible to seasickness. Around 11:30 at night I was working on my photo collage when we went through a rougher area and the boat was really rocking, making me nauseous. I put a scopolamine patch on behind my ear earlier that day, but perhaps it had not taken effect yet. Out of desperation, I took my laptop downstairs as low as I could go (almost to the 2nd floor) as the lower levels don’t move as much. I startled a few of the crew members who passed by, but I felt a whole lot better. The medical officer was kind enough to get me some Dramamine and check with the captain to find out when we should get to smoother waters. The night before was also bad and a fellow passenger actually rolled out of bad and suffered minor injuries so she had to miss the day’s excursions.

Sept 10, Day 15

Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island
Today we were back on Santa Cruz Island. First we walked through a forested area where there were gigantic craters from the collapse of ginormous lava tubes probably thousands of years ago. Then we got to see giant tortoises in the wild. A land owner saw many tortoises eating on his property so he decided to dedicate 8 acres to them so they could prosper. We saw lots of small and several large tortoises there. We also got to sneak up behind them so they wouldn’t pull into their shell and pose for a picture (no touching or feeding tortoises allowed). We had lunch there and then in the afternoon, we went to a tortoise conservation breeding center.

At the center, they collect eggs found in the wild so they don’t get destroyed or eaten, and incubate them until they are about to hatch. Then they put them back in the ground at same distance as they were buried so they have to dig their way out. Next each baby tortoise is numbered and placed into enclosed areas with their egg mates to grow without predators. Once they are large enough to be “hawk-proof” they are released back in their original location. In addition to the babies, they also had some adults of various types and that was where we saw some saddleback tortoises (see pics).

Picture Collage: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vOIE5qxodcHkt5X81519mo_3n5lxaPnI/view?usp=sharing

Posted by nutmeg2000 07:41 Archived in Ecuador

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