Every Island has its own species or sub species but numbers are diminishing as the eggs are eaten by the introduced mammals like cats,dogs,rats and pigs. In the Centre they grow the eggs from all the islands and after hatching of the eggs they keep them for three years and another year for practising to climb rocks. Then they are brought back to the Island where the eggs were taken from. But the most famous turtle here is Lonesome George. You can read about his story on one of the pictures if you like. Walking along the shore we saw our first Marine Iguanes and we met Sally, the Lightfoot Crab. Brown Pelicans and Frigate birds were resting on our dingies.
Together with an Italian group of 12 we went on the first part of our trip to visit the following Islands. Santa Fé with highlights like the Land Iguanas and snorkeling with Sea Lions, Green Sea Turtles and Cow Nose Rays. Then for a bumpy ride at night to Isla Espanola. The morning walk here was spectacular with many beautifully red colored Marine Iguanas, Sally lightfoot crabs, Blue Footed Boobies nesting, the Nazca Boobies nesting, Lava Lizards and the Waved Albatrosses nesting. This is the only species of Albatross that breeds in the tropics. The afternoon we spent relaxing and walking along the shore of a beach with Sea Lions sleeping on the beach. The mocking birds playing in groups and Sea Turtles coming up to the surface to breath.
Again a bumpy ride at night to Floreana Island. Unfortunately the Flamigos were not there but snorkeling with a giant green sea turtle and a small sea lion made up for that. In the afternoon we played soccer with the crew and visited a Lava Tunnel. Then off to North Seymour on a quite smooth ride at night. We went on an early morning walk as the rest of the group is leaving and we get a new of people. The walk was great with many Frigate birds, Blue Footed Boobies and Swallow Tailed Gulls. All nesting and some with babies! Here we saw our first male Frigate bird with its red throat pouch fully inflated like a balloon.
Then we waited for the next people to arrive. This time a mixed group of nationalities and again a group of italians but this time only 6. We headed for a beach on Santa Cruz Island for a short walk to a lagoon. This time we saw one Greater Flamingo but hey that's more than none! The snorkeling here was fine but nothing spectacular. What was spectacular was our night sailing to Isla Genovesa. A nine hour rollercoaster ride in our bunkbeds. We’ve seen all sides of our beds and you really had to hold on to your bed so you wouldn’t fall out. You can imagine we didn’t get much sleep that night. But the walks on Genovesa island made up for it. No blue footed boobies but the red version of them. Red billed tropic birds with their long tails were flying over the cliffs. Nests of greater and magnificant frigate birds, nazca boobies and all with their babies and their fluffy hair. We even got to see the short eared owl.
On the snorkeling trip we got to see our first ever Manta Ray! The rollercoaster ride back to Bartolomea island wasn’t as bad as the way up so we got some decent sleep. Bartolomeo Island is a vulcanic ash island. As there are no trees, bushes or cacti there is no bird life present here but the views of the bays and the vulcanic cones made up for that. But the best was our snorkeling trip here. A cute penguin on the shore, colorful seastars, a stingray and the big bonus we played with 3 sealions for 15 minutes or so. The swim with the sealions was absolutely amazing. How they just play with you and they come up real near to you and then swiftly move away.
Definitely a highlight. In the afternoon we went to black turtle cove. A small cove surrounded by mangroves. As it is shallow in this cove and with many roots of the mangroves to hide under, this is one of the places where sharks and eagle rays nest. So we got to see a baby shark and a spotted eagle ray but the best were the 6 green sea turtles that were in a small cove close to the surface taking breaths the whole time. On our last day we visited South Plaza Island for an early morning walk. A nice sunrise over the red and green covered island with cacti. Here we got to see a couple of Land Iguanas.
Not completely yellow as on Santa Fé but just with a yellow head. On South Plaza you can find the only hybrid Iguanas ( a mix of the marine and the land iguana) Luckily we even got to see one. After this visit it was time to say goodbye to the Galapagos Islands. We had a magnificent time here. We were glad that we did the 8 day trip. The northern Islands are so different from the southern Islands. We basically got to see all the animals we wanted to see exept for the giant turtoises in the wild. Our ship was small but comfortable. The crew was very good and helpful. Kathy our guide was knowledgeable and very strict in applying the parc rules which I think every guide should be as the islands are very vulnerable.
The food was surprisingly good especially if you take into account the size of the kitchen. The amount of boats at the visit sites was also minimal. Maximum 5 at the same time and on the walks we didn’t walk in big groups around the birds and animals so that the impact wasn’t as big as we expected. All in all a great trip!
After a smooth flight to Baltra Island we were met by our guide. Together with a danish couple we were taken to our boat the Golondrina which was in the harbour of Puerto Ayora. After lunch we went for a visit to the Darwin Research Centre. Here they breed the giant turtles that are endemic to the Galapagos.