Ecuador – Day 10
Galapagos Cruise – Day 5
Yes, I quickly tired of titling my posts, example “Day 10/5.” I figure the clever among you can follow along with the explanation right above just fine.
On April 25th, Day 5 of our Galapagos cruise, we visited Espinosa Point on Fernandina Island in the morning, after which we went snorkeling at Tagus Cove in the afternoon and then hiked to Darwin’s Lake on Isabela Island.
Visiting Espinosa Point is surreal. Especially if you visit on the first week of a two-week cruise before you might become jaded by all the spectacular marine life (although I can’t imagine anyone becoming jaded, but I suppose some do). By now you’ve seen a few land iguanas, but nothing can prepare you for the Star-Trekian planet full of Marine Iguanas, hundreds of the things, worshipping their sun god as they await transport back to the mother ship. Just when you think you’ve seen so many sun-worshipping marine iguanas that you couldn’t possibly see any more, you round another corner and there’s another batch! As far as iguanas go, I don’t think I saw another site this spectacular anywhere else in the Galapagos Islands. I’ve chosen just a few shots as examples. Honestly, sometimes the iguanas looked like they were carved from the lava rock of the island, because they just stood there motionless, or crawled over each other, in their eagerness to either remain in place or beat out a compadre for the best sun-worshipping spot.
I included some of my fellow passengers (while cleverly not revealing them close enough to expose their identities) to show how large the Marine Iguanas are at Espinosa Point. See those three shadows right in front? More iguanas!
Also, note how close you can get to the iguanas without disturbing them. Our guide would shout out, “Don’t step on the iguanas!” There were literally that many of them.
“Take me to your leader, and you will not be harmed.”
Good thing these guys were slow-moving, because they meant business.
“Here is our leader! Honest, under the human skin lurks iguanas just like you! We are even bigger, however. We could step on your tails if we wanted to. But we don’t wish for your leader to beat us up.”
Espinosa Point doesn’t only feature Marine Iguanas, however. We saw sea lions frolicking, and this lovely sight of a mother nursing her baby:
A view of our catamaran, The Cormorant, in the background. Also shows the landscape of the area where we walked:
See those little red things in the foreground? Those are Sally Lightfoot Crabs. We saw a ton of them on Espinosa Point.
But first, the bird for which our catamaran was named, the Flightless Cormorant:
They’re called Flightless Cormorants because they do not fly. They do, however, like to stand around sunning their flightless wings, because you never know when another human will happen along. The Flightless Cormorant is always ready for his close-up.
Now, you know I can’t resist showing a photo of a sea turtle. On Espinosa Point, you could get a picture of a sea turtle along with Sally Lightfoot Crabs, and, if you were lucky, a Marine Iguana right beside them. This photo is missing the iguana. He was close by, but I wanted a close-up of the sea turtle in its little pond:
“All right, Sally Lightfoot crabs, who wants a piggyback ride first?” (Just kidding, I never saw the sea turtles giving piggyback rides to crabs.)
Sally Lightfoot Crabs are extremely colorful. A photographer’s dream!
He wants his close-up. He’s not ready, he just wants it:
“Look into my eyes. You feel very sleepy. If you feel me nibbling your toenails, do not be afeared, my child. I will stop when I reach your eyeballs.”
Pretty much like an insect up close, no? And people wonder why I respect crabs enough not to eat them.
After lunch, we snorkeled in Tagus Cove, Isabela Island. It was a sea turtle paradise! (In other words, live with that you’re going to see two of them here):
Photo Credit: BP. I think this was the day “T” lent me her bathing cap, so I could see, I could see! For once. Or maybe I was wearing my backward baseball cap. I can not be expected to remember, because the marine iguanas ate my brain.
“Mirror, mirror, on the…underside of the water, Who is the fairest, the sea turtle or the otter?” Photo Credit: BP (Answer, it’s a tie, because otters are damn cute.)
After snorkeling, we took the pangas to the beach for a hike up to Darwin Lake. The graffiti that you see on the right (it’s very tiny from this far away and at this resolution, but if you can spot what looks like white writing to the right, that’s what I mean) is (a) very old (b) also from the 50s (c) maybe the 70s, too). The oldest graffiti dates back to 1836. Even vandalism becomes historic at a certain point:
You can’t see from this view, but there are sea lions lounging on the path we hiked beside. You had to step around them to continue on.
The idea is that your tour group is supposed to be the only one at a site at a given time. In reality, there are often two or three groups at the site at once, but you don’t see them because there is a loop-path back to your landing site. However, at Tagus Cove there is one place to land, one path to hike up to view Darwin Lake, and then the same path to hike back down. So this is when you’re likely to meet another tour group. You’ll be on your way down and they’ll be coming up.
View of Darwin Lake, with the Cormorant and a second ship in the background.
Just another day in paradise!