Galapagos Islands to Santiago! Bartolome Islands

Got woken up early (6.15am) as breakfast was at 6.30am due to us starting our Island tow slightly sooner than normal. The boat had sailed all evening and anchored at 4am (which woke us up)! After breakfast we got our snorkelling gear ready and prepared ourselves for a wet landing on the beach. We had a walk through some vegetation and then arrived on lava rock pools and view of the sea. We spotted lots of wildlife again including seals, sea lions, iguanas, lava lizards, cuckoos mocking birds etc. We also saw some interesting rock formations and got wet as the tide came in and out of one (aptly named the Ecudorian toilet!). After that we went back to the beach and snorkelled around the rocks. It was certainly better that yesterday. We managed to play with a sea lion, spotted rays, turtles (1) a white tipped reef shark and lots of fish. After that we headed back to the shore and caught the dinghy back to the boat. Once on board we set sail again for a different island and chilled on deck watching the sights around, until lunchtime. After another 3 course lunch we chilled for a little while before getting ready for snorkelling. At the new island we set off via dinghy to the shore to drop the beach dwellers whilst we moved further around the island to be dropped into the sea for our snorkelling expedition. The snorkelling was very good and the visibility much better than some of our previous sessions. We spotted rays, white tipped reef sharks, seals and various fish. After we finished we headed back to the boat to shower and chill out. We also then prepared for our penultimate trip, to climb the pinnacle of Sullivan Bay to enjoy the views, from the summit. After that we headed back to the boat and had a few beers. After that we packed and then joined everyone upstairs for a drink before having dinner. After that we chilled chatting watched a slide show and the video’s shot by Heni (check out hist website -> Galapagos 2000.org). We then chatted to Laura and Bob for a while before going to bed. We have an early start tomorrow and the start of our long voyage home.

Galapagos Islands to Isabela /Fernandina Island

Woke up around 5am with the sound of the engines starting for our journey to Urbina Bay further up Isabela Island. Dozed for w while until it was time to get up for breakfast at 7am (or just before). After that we got our stuff ready for the dinghy to shore and for our walk. The walk lasted about an hour and a half and we spotted land Iguana’s, tortoises(2) lots of finches, grass hopper, mocking birds, lava lizards etc. At the end of the walk we ended back.
On the beach where we went snorkelling but only saw one puffer fish and a Waho fish. due to the poor visibility. After that we headed back to the board for a shower and chill out time. Meanwhile the Captain moved the boat to Fernandin for the afternoon walk around Espinoza Point. Whilst the boat was moving we had lunch and watched dolphins, sea lions and hunted for whales. After lunch we go ready and set off via the dinghy to shore. There we were greeted by sea lions and iguanas on the black lava. We set off on the walk and spotted a lot of wildlife including various birds, near the tide pools (and turtles, rays, sea lions etc). The highlight was the vast numbers of iguanas sitting on the black lava minding their own business, warming themselves in the tropical heat. We saw lots of the little fellas and included spotting some baby ones as well. After the walk we headed back to the jetty and was picked up by the Mary Jane dinghy and taken back to Sagitta. There we chilled out over some cold beers and chatted to Laura/Rob Paddy/Steve. After that it was shower time!. As were passing the Equator (0.00.00) the Captain invited us up to witness the change o n the bridge, via the GPS. We also had a glass of fizzy stuff to celebrate! After that we had the next day’s briefing from Rafelel before dinner. After dinner I made some space on the camera’s memory sticks with the help of Himie’s laptop. I then hit the sack myself (Pheebs was already in the cabin asleep.

Galapagos Island to Isabela Island

Woke up at 6am as we were having an early start to walk over Isabela Island (we had an interesting alarm call at 2am when the ship anchored off Moleno Point). We had breakfast at 6.30am and then left the ship via dingy to land on the lava fields. The lava fields look so barren and odd that I can understand them being likened to the surface of the moon or hell. The surface is totally uneven with strange formations in the rock caused by the molten lava cooling to irregular shapes. Rafelel reckoned that this was roughly 1000 to 3000 years old since it last flowed. We wandered around the fields seeing caked lagoons (with several flamingos) strange lava formations etc. Towards the end of the walk we found a large lagoon with two white tipped reef sharks in, a puffer fish and several other species of fish in it. We assume that during high (spring tides?) that the wildlife got trapped (which some unfortunate turtle did in the branches of a mangrove and was unfortunately trapped permanently).After that we were picked up by the dingy and taken to see penguins of the rocks, flightless cormorants land iguanas and pelicans which was very cool. Once back at the boat we got ready for snorkelling and then headed out again on the dingy off Moreno Point where we jumped in. Unfortunately the water was cold and the visibility poor but we did manage to swim with a single penguin. After that (and it was a short session) we headed back to the shower and chill out before lunch. Lunch was good and included some impressive food displays. It also included 3 courses as per usual! (we could get used to this). After lunch we went in two dinghies into Elizabeth Bay (in fact the boat moved after we got back from our first morning visit to Elizabeth Bay!) where we saw penguins on a rock along with blue footed boobies!. We also travelled into the mangrove forests and then turned off the outboard to travel by paddle so we could observe wildlife without disturbing it. We spotted various birds, a sea lion lounging in a tree and several turtles swimming. After a while we headed back to the boat to chill and I had a guided tour of the engine room by the ship’s engineer! We then had a G&T and read some Galapagos books before dinner. After dinner we watched some Galapagos DVD’s in the ship’s library before heading to bed at 9.30pm. Holidays are such a hard life!!

Galapagos Islands to Floreana Island

Woke up after a reasonable sleep (the boat anchored about midnight) and got up for breakfast at 7.am. After that we got ready for our wet landing at Cormorant Point which had a volcanic sandy beach (olivine – volcanic crystals) and very different to the previous island. From the beach we walked inland to a lagoon with a lonesome flamingo. The lagoon smelt a little bit due to the stagnant water (filled by rain). We then wandered up to a vista before walking to a turtle nesting beach (with white coral sand). We did sport quite a few turtles in the water and even a couple mating close to shore. We also spotted turtle tracks from the shore to the nesting site. From there we headed back to the boat to get ready for our morning snorkelling session off Devils Crown. We spotted a school of puffer fish and dolphins before snorkelling! (off the bow and around the ship). The snorkelling session was great (I hired a shorty as my 5 Element top was not warm enough) and we spotted Whale tip reef shark, rays, puffer fish and various other fish. After having fun in the sea we headed back to the boat for
showers and lunch. During lunch the boat was moved to Post Office Bay for our afternoon walk and snorkelling session. For that we got our wet gear ready (and suited) before heading via dingy to the beach at Post Office Bay. From the beach we walked a very short distance to the Post Office barrel. The original barrel has long since gone but there is another in its place. During whaling times passing ships use to leave letters and parcels for the next passing ship to deliver if they were going that way. Pheebs and I wrote postcards to our parents in the vain hope that one day they will be delivered by hand to our parent’s addresses. We also checked to see if there was anything in our vicinity which we would deliver and there was not. After that we went snorkelling off the beach and spotted a Ray, a White Tip Reef Shark and quite a few green turtles. Watching the turtles was the highlight of the session as they did not seem phased by us observing them at all (even managed to video the underwater close up and also spotted a puffer fish!).

After the snorkelling we headed back to the boat to shower and chill out (which involved sitting on deck with a beer) During that time we spotted some blow spray from whales but that is all we saw. NOTE (Just before lunch we saw lots of dolphins in big schools* (also called pods) following our boat and others). After that we chilled further before having dinner and chatting to our fellow guests. After dinner we headed to bed as we have an early morning ahead of us. BTW we also started moving to our next destination after Post Office Bay so should arrive 2am tomorrow!