Sea Lions, Albatross Courting, Dolphins
Trip Start Feb 22, 2011
51Trip End Ongoing
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Espanola Island, July 30th - Punta Suarez, Gardner Bay
This day was truly one of the best days we spent in the Galapagos - it had a little bit of everything - a great grand finale. In the morning we went snorkeling for about an hour next to the steep volcanic walls of Espanola. Our snorkel excursion was filled with barnacles, sea urchins, anemones, fish, and a few scorpion fish (these fish are masterfully camouflaged to their surroundings making them difficult to find even if you were looking right at one.) But the highlight by far was our time playing with some young sea lions, only about 3 months old. They would swim right up to us, look right at us, and then dart away underneath - just to return seconds later. Aaron and I were thrilled.
In the afternoon we went on our final land excursion in the Galapagos. Excitement was high for we were headed to see the majestic waved albatross - the world's largest sea bird. Espanola is especially important as it is the only place these birds nest within the South Pacific. As it turned out, the hike did not disappoint. Soon we were surrounded by dozens of albatross as well as countless blue-footed and nazca boobies. Everywhere birds were flying around or nesting with baby chicks. Half way through the hike we arrived at a beautiful cliff that overlooked a large blow hole below. For half an hour we just sat and enjoyed the views as tropic birds raced by, boobies dove and fished, crabs crawled about on rocks and the waved albatross soared overhead. It was simply stunning! And then, just as we were heading back we had two "National Geographic moments"; a mating pair of albatross were performing their intricate (and somewhat humorous) courting dance while just several paces down the path a baby boobie was being fed by her mother. Both were amazing to see in person.
As though, things could not get any better, as Missi and Bob were on the sundeck reflecting and looking at sea birds, Missi spotted what she thought might be a sea lion in the distance. At closer look, it was a dolphin and in fact, there were many dolphins beginning to appear in the distance.
So many magical moments today, this was by far the best day ever!
San Cristobal Island, July 31st - Interpretation Center, Departing Thoughts
On our final day we returned to San Cristobal Island to take our flight from the Galapagos back to Quito, Ecuador.