This was supposed to have been the day on Isabella Island. Instead, we went ever so slightly north to Seymour Norte (North Seymour) in the morning and then south-east to Plaza Sur (South Plaza) in the afternoon.
The Galapagos islands are relatively “new” islands, ranging from 3.2 million years in the East (San Cristobal) to .5 million years in the west (Fernandina). Both North Seymour & South Plaza would be in the 1.7 million year range.
North Seymour is home to galapagos sea lions, marine & land iguanas, sally lightfoot crabs, frigatebirds, blue footed boobies, rocks, sesuvium and cactus.
This young sea lion was still being fed by his mother, but he was “playing” with this fish skeleton, learning how to eat.
Despite the blue feet, this is not a blue footed booby – it’s a juvenile magnificent frigatebird.
A nesting Magnificent Frigatebird – you can see the little beak of the chick sticking out…
During mating season the male frigatebird inflates his pouch in an effort to impress and win a female
And then there are the blue footed boobies; watching their mating dance is a real treat. A little video that I shot, it was an afterthought…
And some stills, look at the serious look on his face…
The land iguanas in the Galapagos are huge and the males are very colourful
Male iguanas can been seen around the bottom of the cacti; ready to chase off any intruders. Because of the scarcity of water, the prickly pear cactus is the main source of food and water for the iguanas; they love the flowers, but also eat the pads, fruit and spines.
After our landing, we were back onboard just long enough to get ready for snorkelling. Our first “deep water snorkel”; into the water off the pangas. It was beautiful, we saw parrotfish, a white tipped shark, flounder and rays and my camera battery was dead. Next time…
After lunch we pulled up anchor and headed south east to South Plaza Island for a dry landing; sadly no snorkelling, there are too many sharks in the area.
South Plaza was formed by lava coming up from the ocean and is pretty barren. Sesuvium, also known as Galapagos Carpetweed, is pretty widespread here. During the dry season it’s red, during the rainy season it’s green.
Marine iguanas seek the sun when not in the water; they’ll climb to great heights to catch some rays and soak up the warmth of the sun.
The Swallow Tailed Gull is endemic to the Galapagos islands, and nests in the eastern islands and on one island off the coast of Colombia. The only nocturnal gull, their beautiful red-ringed eyes are specially adapted for night-vision.
Sea lions are amazing creatures, this male climbed up the cliff for a well earned rest on the rocks at the top.
The island is best known for it’s colonies of swallowed tailed gulls and red billed tropicbirds, but we can’t forget the pelicans!
The red-billed tropicbird spends most of it’s life in the air, coming to land only to breed. We were fortunate to see them on this day, soaring high above their nests.
Red billed tropicbirds in are a delight to see in flight, with their beautiful long tail flowing behind them
These rocks have been polished to a shine by the sea lions moving over them; very shiny and very slippery when wet.
There is a fairly large sea lion colony on South Plaza. This little guy was sleeping in the shade, waiting patiently for mom to return from the sea with his next meal.
Back on board, a pelican decided to perch on the rail at the back of the boat as another day came to a close.