Day 8: - Galapagos
Quote of the day: Was that you nipping my arm?
Weather: Warm with slight breezes in the morning, sunny for snorkeling (phew), overcast for hike (phew)
Pics: An effigy left by the steward, Sandy the naturalist, penguins, mangrove tree flower, pangas, turtle, A&M (in bandanna), nesting cormorant, lunch signs, giant sting ray underwater, school of smaller golden rays, many shots from the lava beds (lava cactus, flowers, Andy Goldsworthy installation, penguins, more cacti, flamingoes), sunset
Same-same breakfast, including back to a balky coffee machine and toaster. THB expands his horizons this time and tries some crispy bacon; it goes great with toast and jam when the toast finally comes out.
All the activities today are on Isabella Island. Panga ride to a mangrove where we see penguins swimming, green and yellow turtles (mostly underwater), flightless cormorants (including one on a nest, see pic), mockingbirds, rays, oysters, shearwaters, very few fish, and one lonely sea lion. Supposedly the sea lions will climb into the mangrove trees; THB sez “urban myth” to such stories. People from another panga say they saw two “tree lions”….THB sez “urban myth mixed with naturalist humor.”
Ecuadorian lunch, no mythos only pathos (THB eats too much): roast pig with crinkly skin, ceviche, fried yucca, llapingachos (potato patties with peanut sauce and hot salsa), moro de lenteja (rice with something that might have been lentils). YOWZA!!!
Another great snorkeling outing: short, sunny, lots of turtles, an endemic large orange colored wrasse (only in Galapagos), a pufferfish, small lime green urchins, large blue-black spiny urchins, very large schools of fish, and a flightless cormorant that took a nip of DB and later swam down and found something more appealing to eat among the rocks. As the days go on, there are fewer snorkelers (today, there’s a hike coming and it seems like some decided it was one or the other) and at the same time THB is finding it easier and easier: the mask fits better, no leaks, the fins go on easier, the getting in and out of the panga is smoother; all good! Also, there was a sea horse, though only the crew guy that swam down four meters could see it, which per Malena was a pregnant male sea horse. Hmmmmmm….
A very short rest up and then THB, M, P & A join the lava hike, and on the way we see a large number of golden eagle rays and huge stingray. The hike is stark and fascinating (lots of pics) and after the hike we get on the panga and go visit a small colony of small penguins. Another “exceeded expectations” check mark.
We’re in for “rough” weather, we’re going a long distance and much of it is against the current. THB goes very light at dinner, which would’ve happened anyway since this is the worst meal of the trip so far. They’re passing out Dramamine. Hmmmm….so far THB has fought off seasickness, will this be the night he succumbs?