Travel Journal

Galapagos – North Seymour and Bartolome Islands

(Tuesday 24 May 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 274 5/8/11
We did a dry landing on North Seymour and took a hike to see the island star the frigate bird along with more land iguanas and sea lions. The male frigate bird has the well known red throat pouch which they use to attract a mate. They will scout out to find the best nesting area, drive other males away, take a half hour to inflate their patch and then it’s Friday night at the bar to get a woman.
There were also swallow tail gulls of all ages with the juvenile bird taking on an ugly duckling appearance before transforming to the appearance of their more graceful parents. Blue footed boobies also make their nest on the trail and there is courtship, mating, nesting or chick rearing all together as the mating season is throughout the year.
There are plenty of land iguanas here as well. I gave the morning snorkeling trip a miss as I intended to go on the afternoon excursion as there would be penguins. After sailing to Bartolome we immediately took to the water and made our way along the beach to a rocky point which the penguins were. Along the way I was able to see some small sharks hiding as they often do under the rocks. Also there was an interesting battle between an octopus and moray eel with no fatalities although the octopus only had seven arms at the conclusion.
We saw several penguins on the rocks and despite our mental pleading they did not enter the water. A sea lion showed up and brushed against me as it swam circles around me – such a mocker! The penguins did take to the water and they were like jets zooming around with no way to keep up with them. Fortunately they were curious about us and kept coming back to us and one touched me – not in a sexual way though. They were amazing creatures and I was thankful that I took this dive.
We took the panga to the dry landing and walked on the boardwalk towards the summit. The boardwalk is only a couple years old built because the visitors were causing land erosion. It’s surprising that on this lunar type landscape that some hardy plants can find a foothold. Daniel went into his geology lesson pointing out different formations caused by different types of eruptions as we continued our ascent. It was quite windy and as we approached the top I noticed a shadow come over me and looked up to see a Galapagos hawk floating about a meter above me and it landed on the handrail to the step and posed quite calmly for photos.
The summit offered spectacular views of the bay and nearby island and the only sounds were the wind and the shutter of cameras as we took in this sight. On our way back to the Beagle, the panga stopped so we could get some photos of the penguins since only a couple of our group had underwater cameras.
Again we repositioned the boat before dinner as our last couple nights had no overnight trips as the sites were close to each other allowing for a peaceful night’s sleep.

 


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