Galapagos - Santa Cruz, Santiago & Genovesa
Trip Start Oct 29, 2011
48Trip End Jun 01, 2012
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In the afternoon we went to the island of Santiago and Sullivan Bay on the east coast. Here there is a 125 year old lava flow that has solidified to a black sheet that reaches to the edge of the sea. The lava here is pahoehoe lava – hawaiian word meaning ropey. It has a rippled effect caused when molten lava in contact with the air begins to solidify but is then ruffled up by molten lava into tongue or rope like shapes.
The other highlight of Sullivan Bay are the Galapagos penguins that inhabit the bay
So our final day was on the island of Genovesa. Genovesa Island is a horse-shoe shaped island that was formed when a shield volcano that has a volcanic caldera wall collapsed and was inundated by the sea, forming the Great Darwin Bay, surrounded by cliffs. This island is also known as Bird Island, because of the large and varied bird colonies which nest here
It is also one of the few places in the islands where you can see fur seals. Their coats of dark grey brown to dusky black nearly lead these animals to extinction, as hunters targeted them. The pups are born with a smooth and silky skin to which fur develops around 6-months of age. This made them prime targets for hunters back in the 18th century.These animals have survived from the brink of extinction, are the shiest creatures in the are chipelago. Their numbers now compare in numbers with the sea lions. They are smaller and the sea lions and have more obvious ears.
We then headed over to the Prince Philip Steps where you can access the cliffs. Apparently they are named after the Prince Phillip from when he visited the Galapagos. We then spent an hour seeing lots of bird life and even saw the Galapagos short-eared owl. Back to boat (yes snacks) then out for more snorkelling (just couldn't face the salt water again - so Sam and I had another great chat)
Next morning there was a quick panga trip round some mangroves (I was half asleep) then off to the airport and the flight back to Quito.
So I feel I need to sum up the whole experience (you always need a conclusion or a plenary). I had a really fantastic week, with some real memorable moments - turtles, the penguin, the mating dance of the albtatross, but overall the Galapagos weren't quite what I was thinking they would be.It was a lot more touristy than I had expected. I guess I had this vision of just me and all the animals in a desolate rocky landscape just like it looked on the BBC DVD, making the same discoveries as Darwin.
But then again I am just a tourist and who am I to expect I will be the only one there
I also got to spend the week with some lovely people and there were lots of laughs to be had - mostly at mine and Sam's expense. The boat was amazing, the crew were brilliant and most importantly the tan is coming along nicely - just need to get rid of the stripes - am currently resembling a zebra. Far too much time in a panga in a shorty wet suit - 'we'll get in if you see something good'