Friday, October 12, 2012

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador: South Plazas Island; Santa Fe Island
South Plazas Island

This morning it was a stop to South Plazas Island. Breakfast was at 6:30 and although we had fried egg and bread, we also had fresh fruit, cereal, granola, and yogurt and of course coffee and tea. The island is stunning as only an island in the middle of the Pacific can be. I wish my camera could have captured the stunning beauty of everything that I was seeing but sadly, it could not. I don’t think any camera can. The flora, fauna and wild life is incredible and they have no fear of us coming close because most of them have no natural predators. We were again greeted on the dock by one of the locals who was in no hurry to move just because we needed to get off on the island. With some persuasion, he moved. 
Walking along the paths, they were basking on the rocks and could care less if we had to pass. We are supposed to stay at least 2 metres from the animals but sometimes it’s hard when they are right next to you.

We saw medium sized prickly pear cactus that were about 9 feet high. We also saw swallow tail gulls (with red circles around the eyes and white beaks). The beaks are white because they feed at night and the young ones can see them That’s adaptation to the environment. The same for the iguanas. There are marine (yellow) and land iguanas (black) and they eventually cross breed to have a beautiful yellow/black combination colour. There is carpet weed which covers the surrounding hills and at this time of year, because it’s still dry, they are mostly red. In the rainy season, they’ll be green. The prickly pears have very long needles which point down to protect the plant from iguanas trying to eat it for water. Then there are the amazing cliffs that are full of crabs who clean the area by eating any dead animals and algae (this may make you think about eating crabs again). There were yellow warblers but they were not so plentiful. As for the rest of the landscape and wild life, I’ll just post the pictures and you can decide. and you can decide.

After spending a good 2.5 hours which raced by very quickly, Omar asked us to board the dinghy to go back to the yacht. He is very knowledgeable about the islands and can answer just about any question that you ask.

Santa Fe Island

We sailed for about 2.5 hours to Santa Fe Island. Robin had a bit of motion sickness so he took an anti-nausea pill and rested in the lounge until lunch. I also rested in the lounge but mostly because I had a restless night of sleep. So far, no motion sickness for me but tonight we have to sail in rougher waters for about 5 hours so I hope that I’ll be fine. The trouble with me taking any meds is that my body has no tolerance for anything that causes drowsiness so if the package says take one every 8 hours, for me that translates to taking one and sleeping or being extremely drowsy for 28 hours. That’s about how long it will take for my tongue to come off the roof of my mouth and for me to feel that I can lift my eyelids enough to see anything.

We had a great lunch of baked meat, potatoes, salads and fruit salad for lunch. Then it was an hour’s rest (or blogging for me) until we snorkel at 2pm. There’s a cool wind so I decided to pass on the snorkeling and just enjoyed the view and the fish that you can see from the surface because the water is so clear. After that, we had a wet landing on Santa Fe, where we saw some more spectacular vegetation and wild life. There were giant cacti at least 20 feet tall and some more than 130 years old. We also saw some land iguanas that are endemic only to this island. They are light brown in colour so you have to look carefully to see then because they blend in so well to the landscape. We saw some Darwin finches some of which were ground finches and some were cactus finches. There were blue eyed doves and dozens of sea lions in all stages of growth. We even managed to see a hawk and some reef sharks when going back to the yacht. 

Afterwards we went back to the yacht for a nice pizza dinner. It was Sandra’s birthday (we have another Sandra on board). The crew was nice enough to make a cake and ice it for her and gave her a bottle of wine which she shared with anyone who wanted some. We sang happy birthday, had a piece of cake each had our briefing and went back to our room. It will be a rough night (already started). I am sitting on the floor of the cabin writing because the water is so rough. I think the motion may bother me tonight so I am going to sign off before I hurl on my keyboard.   
Another great day getting close to nature.

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