Touring the Galápagos Islands

Hendrik

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
2,094
Location
Wayland MA
Real Name
Hendrik
Day Four: Punta Moreno, Isla Isabela - Panga Ride III

After the kerfuffle in the middle of the lagoon we made our way out to return to the ship.

The guide had never seen this behavior before.

Blue-Footed Booby on a branch.
_HFB3662m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Striated Heron (Butorides Striata) hunting
_HFB3691-Editm43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


_HFB3694-Editm43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Galápagos Candelabra Cactus (endemic)
_HFB3933m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Opuntia and Candelabra
_HFB3722m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Penguins
_HFB3706-Edit-2m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


_HFB3759-Editm43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Penguins, et al. Not only are they not spooked by our boat’s presence, they can take being flanked by boats on two sides with apparent equanimity.
_HFB3785m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Hendrik

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
2,094
Location
Wayland MA
Real Name
Hendrik
Some of Darwin’s Evidence

En route to Puerto Ayora (Day Four) - at sea, rounding the southwest coast of Isabela. While he was visiting, Charles Darwin was at least as interested in the volcanic landscape as the birds.

Looking east to Cerro Azul in background
_HFB3886m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Looking northeast, Santo Tomás in the far distance
_HFB3904m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


A sere environment
_HFB3914m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


~100% crop of previous - NB, Iguanas on the beach (crop 2.25Mp)
_HFB3914m43-2.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Half the cone has sheared off into the water
_HFB3956m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Once the relative youth of the land and its isolation were considered together with the island-specific variety within the relatively few genera present, Darwin became more convinced of his conclusions. For instance, he was initially struck by the differences between mockingbird populations.

Isabela Mockingbird (Day Three)
_HFB3375m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Santa Cruz Mockingbird (Day Five)
_HFB4001m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Española Mockingbird (Day Seven)
_HFB4637m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Danny_SWE

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Apr 30, 2013
Messages
1,776
Location
Sweden (Gothenburg)

Hendrik

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
2,094
Location
Wayland MA
Real Name
Hendrik
Day Five: Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz - Shore Visit to Civilization

Sun’s just up. The cloud cover is the Garúa, which brings moisture to the highlands while things stay dry at sea level.
_HFB3988m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Eternal Hope
_HFB3938m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Eternal Rest
_HFB3945m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Mockingbird stand-off
_HFB3995m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Emanciplástico – This fanciful representation of a plastic bottle and endangered wildlife is constructed entirely from flotsam found in the islands.
_HFB3952m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Guardaparque – Erected in homage to the “effort and knowledge they [Park Rangers] bring to the task of preserving the unique nature of the Galápagos.”
_HFB3967m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Harborside Fish Market – customers of and for many species
_HFB3970m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Only in the Galápagos? Anyone who has ever tried stalking a Great Blue Heron knows how atypical this is. Also shown: Pelican, Sea Lions
_HFB4181m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Hendrik

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
2,094
Location
Wayland MA
Real Name
Hendrik
Day Five: Estácion Cientifica Charles Darwin, Isla Santa Cruz

The Charles Darwin Scientific Station is devoted to breeding tortoises for re-introduction into the wild. These were the only confined animals we encountered on the trip. Once the fry cease to be easy prey they will be released among others of their type. Within the Galápagos, the speciation of tortoises tends to go by areas (volcano cones, mostly) rather than by islands. In the past, before the availability of dna analysis, tortoise breeding was a chancy affair.

So, how can a tortoise become an international celebrity, aside from dying without issue like Lonesome George? By turning out to be a certified stud, that's how. Take the case of Diego. He was repatriated from the San Diego Zoo where he had no success in their breeding program (they knew he was a tortoise, but that’s about all.) Back in the Galápagos, once his type was accurately determined and he was placed with others of his kind, Diego proved to be a prolific breeder. He even has his own Wikipedia entry!

Diego, thought to be over 100 years old. The breeding job a success, he was returned to the wild since we visited.
_HFB4036m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


The very high relief at the front of his carapace marks Diego as a saddleback tortoise, one that has evolved to browse higher than ground level.
_HFB4059m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


_HFB4083m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Another individual

_HFB4038m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


_HFB4040m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Tortoise fry - slated to be released on their home island (or volcano).
_HFB4156m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


_HFB4167m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Obligatory Lava Lizard
_HFB4117m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Hendrik

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
2,094
Location
Wayland MA
Real Name
Hendrik
Day Five: Isla Santa Cruz - Tortoise Camp

Tortoise Camp, so-called, is located in the highlands west of Puerto Ayora. Here we encountered the garúa which manifests itself as a soaking drizzle.

The advice we were given was, “If the rock moves, it’s a tortoise.” There are three in this pic, all free ranging.
_HFB4026m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Visiting a neighboring coffee plantation it became clear that it has to cope with and accommodate free range tortoises. That’s ‘cause them’s the rules.
_HFB4112m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


The lack of neck relief in the carapaces of the tortoises on Santa Cruz marks them as low browsers.
_HFB4231m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


_HFB4198m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Chillin’. Determining tortoise age is an inexact affair, coming down to judging by carapace wear.
_HFB4059m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


_HFB4223m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


_HFB4205m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Competitors for grazing rights meeting at the waterhole.
_HFB4221m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Hendrik

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
2,094
Location
Wayland MA
Real Name
Hendrik
Day Six: Isla Santa Fé - A Short Walk

The morning of Day Six was spent leaving Tortoise Camp and wrapping up our Santa Cruz experience. Some of those images appeared in the previous post. We left Puerto Ayora at the end of the morning and motored to Isla Santa Fé, arriving in time for some more snorkeling, after which we took a very short walk from the bay at the north west tip of the island along the north coast to visit a grove of cactus. The beach where we landed was already occupied…

I’m Here!
_HFB4317m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Three sea lions unconcerned with being in the long shadow of humans
_HFB4355m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Approaching our anchorage we see an Opuntia “forest” on Santa Fé
_HFB4175m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Individual cactus
_HFB4187m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Its grip seems precarious, to say the least
_HFB4188m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Finches can be instrumental in dispersing cactus seed.
_HFB4393m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


A mutual relationship. The iguana tolerates the mockingbirds’ attempt to police its skin for parasites. They can come away with a meal.
_HFB4373m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Iguana: Iguanas also spread cactus seed. They can be seen resting under cacti, patiently waiting for fruit to fall to the ground.
_HFB4192m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


So, on to Isla Española.
 
Last edited:

Hendrik

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
2,094
Location
Wayland MA
Real Name
Hendrik
Day Seven: Punta Suarez, Isla Española - A Morning Walk, various species

At Isla Española we paid an early morning visit to Punta Suarez, at the western tip, shortly after sunup. The south-facing coast is a convenient base for species that fish in the Humboldt Current. For the numbers of individuals and variety of species of birds, this was the most intense visit of the trip.

Galápagos Sea Lion
_HFB4532m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Galápagos Dove
_HFB4420m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Española Mockingbird
_HFB4607m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Swallow-tailed Gull (Nazca Boobies in foreground)
_HFB4524m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Red-billed Tropicbird
_HFB4559-Editm43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


_HFB4554m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Marine Iguana in molt. They are also called Christmas Iguana for their intense red and green coloration when they are not molting.
_HFB4437m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Yet another Lava Lizard (the last, promise)
_HFB4547m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Hendrik

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
2,094
Location
Wayland MA
Real Name
Hendrik
Day Seven: Punta Suarez, Isla Española - A Morning Walk, Boobies

Here for the first time we were able to approach boobies on foot. They seemed no more perturbed by our presence than when we approached by boat.

Nazca Boobies

Sky Pointing, no doubt thinking romantic thoughts
_HFB4361m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Formal 3/4 portrait
_HFB4490m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Resting, head tucked on back
_HFB4628m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Blue-footed Boobies

Getting interested in the survival of the species
_HFB4382m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Showing his lady his foot
_HFB4406m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


You would be forgiven for missing the Booby…
_HFB4501m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


…not to mention the eggs
_HFB4502m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


A brooding presence
_HFB4504m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Hendrik

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
2,094
Location
Wayland MA
Real Name
Hendrik
Day Seven: Punta Suarez, Isla Española - A Morning Walk, Waved Albatrosses

We got lucky. If we had been able to travel at our preferred time of year (determined by a lot of web reading), we would have missed the Waved Albatrosses.

The pair at left is engaged in courting. They are sparring with their beaks.
_HFB4507m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Sky pointing is one feature of the courtship dance.
_HFB4243m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


This gesture only looks like a squawk. It is entirely silent. Perhaps it is meant to demonstrate lack of disease.
_HFB4263m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Maintaining eye contact
_HFB4273m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Again, both are silent
_HFB4328m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


The picturesque moments I’ve shown may be silent but the dance is anything but. Courting and Mating

The dance is over and now things turn more tender
_HFB4423m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Mating
_HFB4481m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


After
_HFB4486m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Our trip had many equally wonderful and intriguing highlights but my wife and I agree on this ritual as being the first among equals. Serendipity strikes again.
 

Hendrik

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
2,094
Location
Wayland MA
Real Name
Hendrik
Day Seven: Gardner Bay, Isla Española - On the Beach

Gardner Bay is to the east of Punta Suarez, halfway along the north coast of Española. This was the last nature visit of the trip and it served a kind of cooling down function after an intense week. One couple walked the beach end to end for several laps, avoiding lazy sea lions. There was still stuff to keep me busy.

Sea lions: Indolence as art form.
_HFB4620m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Nursing
_HFB4538m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Española Mockingbird - The guides warned us about these coming around attempting to cadge water from the kind-hearted tourists although they never explained how the feat might be accomplished.
_HFB4667m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Unlike any of our previous visits, we were set free to roam the extent of the largish beach. Alone at the western end, I encountered an American Oystercatcher going about its business:

On the prowl
_HFB4629m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Investigating
_HFB4788m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Got something
_HFB4697m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


How to deal with it?
_HFB4735m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


The flip
_HFB4737m43.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Our flight home was scheduled for the next morning. We had one last adventure aboard the ship. As we motored north to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and the airport on Isla de San Cristóbal in the half light of dusk, we were escorted for several minutes by a pod of porpoises. It was so storybook pat that we half suspected the fix was in.
 

Hendrik

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
Messages
2,094
Location
Wayland MA
Real Name
Hendrik
OK! That was our trip to the Galápagos in stills. Thanks for looking!

Here's an unadvertised bonus(?). I mentioned videos in the gear post. If you have some spare moments you're willing to throw away on some dilletantish travel videos, our collection can be found here.
 

Latest threads

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom