Last Day of the
Cruise - North
Santa Fe Islands...
April 9, 2007
Another day, another early morning…
We were briefed last night that we had to report for duty at 6:30am today. Like the good Galapagos tourists we are, we were all
ready by 6:20am.
And off we went to North Seymour Island…
This was where we would see a blue-footed booby colony. There must be something about a bird being born with blue feet that
gives them an incredible amount of personality. These guys were hamming it up for us. And we were loving every minute of it. Not
only were they entertaining us, they were entertaining their little blue-footed lovers. They had a mating ritual where they dance
around for the little booby that they had the hots for. Their little blue feet would move from side to side and then they would seal-
the-deal by spreading their wings and letting out a cute little noise. They repeated this a few times. I’m not sure if the boobies were
playing hard to get because after all of this effort, I never actually saw any lovin’ taking place. I guess there’s always the possibility
that they need a little privacy. Who knows – maybe they’re worried that the pictures and videos will be sold on the internet down
the road if things don’t go well with their booby lover???
Of course there were more iguanas to be seen. And sea lions. I just can’t believe that I am equally enthralled with these guys now as
I was on the first day. I am aware of this by the way I’m filling up my memory cards with pictures of them. I really need to get a
hold of myself. But really – what is cuter than a little sea lion pup?
A newbie that we saw on this island was a male frigatebird with a big red balloon sack at its neck. We also saw these guys in the
middle of their mating ritual. Their red balloon was fully inflated and they spread their wings for a rather long time and let out a
noise. I didn’t see any females rushing towards them. I didn’t have the nerve to ask Ivan (our guide) if when choosing a suitor the
females take into account the size of their sack. Oh. Wow. That sounds really bad, huh? I didn’t mean it that way. Wait a second –
yes I did.
Later this afternoon we had a bit of down time in between lunch and snorkeling. Since we were anchored in this beautiful aqua blue
bay, I asked if I could jump in the water before our ‘official’ snorkel time. Ivan said this would be okay. I saw a bunch of sand. And
several small boulders that were dispersed here and there. As I was making my way back to the boat I saw something moving.
Actually, I saw many things moving. It was a group of four spotted eagle rays. I took my head out of the water to tell people on the
top of my boat. Then I put my head back in and saw even more! In total I saw seven making their way through the water together.
I had never seen one of these before – let alone seven. And I hadn’t even done the ‘real’ snorkeling of the day yet.
The ‘real’ snorkel time had come around and the zodiac took us out. Let me say that even though the sun was out today that didn’t
make a difference with how cold the water was. Brrrrr. At first we weren’t seeing too much. A parrotfish here and there. Schools of
thousands of salema fish. Other schools of hundreds of larger fish. But then minutes later we were upon a snorkeling gold mine –
sea lions. There were some moments where we weren’t even within inches – they were so close that they were actually skimming
against us. And there were loads of them – some whizzing by; others doing somersaults; and others just playing with one another. I
will not forget how it felt to be underneath the water watching and experiencing that (definitely a good thing since I can be almost
certain that my disposable camera didn’t capture any of it). Truly incredible. Before we were done with snorkeling, we saw a couple
stingrays. But really…who cares about a couple of stingrays after being in the middle (literally) of sea lions playing with each other?
As our zodiac was about to bring us back to our boat, we saw blue-footed boobies, sea lions, iguanas and pelicans all within inches of
each other on the edge of the island with the beautiful blue water in front and prickly pear cacti in the background – definitely the
stuff that makes the Galapagos so amazing…
Next up: Santa Fe Island. This was right where we went snorkeling. We had the customary greeting of sea lions awaiting our
arrival. We took a little walk around. Saw some iguanas that are endemic to this island. But that wasn’t the highlight. That would
have been when we just plopped our butts on the beach and watched the sea lions. Some of them even walked right over to where
we were and sat down just a couple feet away. And this would be how our last full day on our cruise would be spent. Not too bad,
Tonight was our last dinner together. It is hard to believe that this trip is already over. Can it really be? It feels like we just got here
yesterday. I think we all agree that we couldn’t ask to have been with a better group of people. They definitely made the trip as
great as it was.
About to hit the water.
A male frigatebird.