Day 144: January 6, 2008 Bartolomé to Baquerizo

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
Trip End Mar 01, 2008

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Day 144: January 6, 2008 Isla Bartolomé to Isla Santa Fe to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Isla San Cristobal

We pulled out of Bartolomé around midnight and headed for Isla Santa Fe, arriving around 4:30. I slept solidly until about 2:30 but it was fitful after that. We got up at 6:00 for a 6:30 breakfast and were in the panga, heading for the beach of the small bay on the north side of the island, by 7:45. A miscalculation by our pilot put us into the rocky area so our wet landing was a little slippery and painful getting up to the sandy beach. Numerous yearling sea lions and even more pups were on the northern edge of the southern beach, protected by a couple of females and a bellicose bull who swam just offshore.

We entered the water from the stern After discussing sea lion physiology and habits at length, Antonio led us over the rocks to the northern beach where we saw two Galápagos hawks and a Galápagos mockingbird. From there, we walked along the rocky shore heading west through a forest of giant cacti with leaves high off the ground to prevent consumption by the land iguana species that lives on the island. We also saw several finches and yellow warblers. A heavy sea broke waves against the rocky shoreline.
Returning to the north beach in the quiet bay, we reboarded the panga and went back to the yacht. Once there, we put on our snorkeling gear and entered the water from the stern of the boat. Todd and I swam along the north shore of the bay and the others followed our lead. Several sea lions joined us briefly but seemed to be put off by the crowd and left quickly. We saw numerous yellowtail surgeonfish and black-tailed mullets as well as numerous varieties of other reef fish in lesser numbers. We were disappointed not to see sharks, turtles, and rays like we did at this place last June. After about 45 minutes, we swam back to the yacht and relaxed. I took a shower soon after we got underway, heading toward Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galápagos, located on Isla San Cristobal.

I went up top to look for whales and found Todd and Sara there. We were soon joined by Kathy, Ken, and Joe. I stayed up there until lunch without seeing marine mammals of any kind. After another good lunch, we entered port where we disembarked where a small bus took us to the excellent interpretive center. Everyone enjoyed it but a significant part of it was closed for remodeling. The bus took us back to the beach where we went to the sea lion beach right in the middle of town. From there, we were on our own. A bunch of us walked on the sidewalk along the beach and ran into a sea lion walking on the sidewalk in the opposite direction. It was Sunday afternoon siesta time so all of the internet places were closed. Naturally, we holed up in a bar to await their opening. A yellow warbler walked into the bar. I know it sounds like the start of a bad joke but that's what happened. By the time the internet place opened it was getting near time to return to the yacht. I fired off a couple of quick emails to Liz, my parents, and Elena before returning to the bar to gather the others and return to the boat.

We had our afternoon debriefing at 7:00 and then had another fine dinner. Most people agreed that they don't usually eat this well! After dinner, everyone did their own things. I went to my cabin to write and upload my fotos to the computer before calling it a day and turning in.
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