Iguanas fighting over territory, thousands of crabs, two species of sea lions, lizards galore, birds and even a snake; this is what we saw on our first day in the Galápagos!
Today was a good practice day as we all learned about “wet landings” and “dry landings” in the Zodiacs we use to transfer from the ship to the shore. We go in groups of up to sixteen people along with a naturalist that will take us on our hike once on shore. It’s a bit of a process this first day to get off the zodiac in the water, then change shoes in the hot sand, but we are getting the hang of it.
We hiked for about 90 minutes and saw a lot of amazing animals…
When we first came ashore, we saw this baby sea lion just hanging out on the rock. Very cute.
The next thing we noticed was the lizards. They were everywhere and you had to be careful as you were walking so that you didn’t step on them! They are cold blooded so at this time of the morning they were all out on the warm sand bringing up their body temperatures.
Of course the Galapagos are home to many many birds, and they have no fear of humans, very few of the animals on the islands do! But this one takes the cake as it landed on Ann’s hat. The guide told us that they really like cameras with big lenses and that they will use them like a mirror to admire themselves.
After hiking the inland part of the trail we started to walk the shoreline. Our first site was the sealions. They are nocturnal, so they were just floating in the cool waters and resting during the day. Looks like a pretty good life to me.
The shoreline was just full of these red crabs, called “sally light foot crabs”. Here you can also see one of the many iguanas looking at them. The iguanas eat algae so its not hunting them. The Oyster catcher birds, do hunt the crabs, and we saw some of those as well.
And here is the king of the iguanas! Looks like he is in charge to me!
In the afternoon we headed to Rabida island for some more hiking and snorkeling. Here we are in all of our orange splendor.
The hike was hot but really beautiful.
I just loved how the prickly pear cacti just grow right out of the lava rock on this island.
This is a brackish lake. Much of the water comes from rain and runoff from the hill behind, but at high tide, some water can flow over the mangrove berm and into the lake as well.
And this is the frigate bird. They are amazing in that they steal food from other birds right out of the air! They also love to float and glide alongside and above the ship as we slowly reposition ourselves.