These are the notes I took during my six day Galapagos cruise. It was a perfect birthday treat, where my mother and brother joined me.
6 days / 5 nights South Islands
Day 1: Baltra Airport / El Chato – Highlands
El Chato Tortoise Reserve: saw 8 of the giants.
South East of Santa Rosa, walked through lava tubes of over 1km in length.
Walked to Tortuga Bay National Park, but too late to enter. Got a haircut. A couple of mojitos for Saturday night out. Brown Pelicans fishing by pier.
Day 2: Floreana (Santa Maria) Island – Post Office Bay – Champion / Cormorant Point
Punta Cormorant wet landing to lagoon with half dozen greater flamingos, black-necked stilt, striated heron. Blue footed boobies along the shore and several young sea lions playing in the surf. Walked over isthmus to white sand beach where two meter shark close to shore and many crabs (sally lightfoot crab). Many lava lizards.
Snorkeling in the jagged semicircle known as the Devil’s Crown, created from the sunken cone of an eroded volcano. Interesting coral formations, underwater tunnel, many tropical fish, pyramid blue sea stars, pencil spined sea urchins, panamic cushions, soft sea stars, a dozen spotted eagle rays swimming together – dove down next to them.
Post Office Bay: Once a mailbox site for British and American sailors. Steep descent through lava cave eventually reaching water. Snorkeling at beach: sea snake (tiger snake eel, brown rings on white), lobster (bright blue eyes???), rare sea cucumber, green sea urchins, two sea turtles; at one point following sea turtle with five Galapagos sea lions, bumping against me, eager to play. Yellow warbler by sand dune.
Day 3: Espanola Island – Suarez Point / Breeding Center
Wet landing at Punta Suarez. 3km walk across Espanola with many animal sightings, most up to the two meter Galapagos minimum distance: sea lions, sea iguana, cactus finch, Galapagos hawk (mating!), blue-footed booby, waved albatross (20+, breeding).
snorkel at Gardner Island, didn’t see much for animals, steep cliffs descending deeply into aqua water, sea caves. wet landing at Gardner Beach, sea lion colony, hundreds up close, white sand beach against aqua ocean.
Night out in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Playing pool at Basquera, surfer bar.
Day 4: San Cristobal Island – Lobos Island / Breeding Center
Birthday. Dry landing to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Interpretation Center (museum) for Galapagos ecological and cultural history. 4km nature walk with swim in lagoon.
30min. boat trip to Isla Lobos. Swim with sea lions (young very playful). Dove down and watched Iguana on sea floor eating coral. Hike around island. Blue-footed boobys with eggs, courting dance just 2m away.
Sail back to PBM. Surprise(?) birthday party on boat. Night out.
Day 5: Santa Fe Island (Barrington) / South Plazas
Landing at El Fondeadero Bay. Sea lion colony. Santa Fe Land Iguana, rare, said we may see one, we saw a half dozen. Snake. Sever white tipped sharks.
Snorkeling. Could easily see down thirty feet. Swam with turtles, went under one, and upside down. Many tropical fish. Five different types of rays.
Day 6: Black Turtle Cove in Santa Cruz Island / Baltra Airport
6am pangas to Black Turtle Cove. Many turtles, white tipped sharks and rays (golden and eagle) viewed from boat along egrets and gulls along the mangroves.
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