Travel Journal

Galapagos – Espanola Island

(Monday 23 May 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 271 5/5/11
Today was a dry landing at the Suarez which is a sea lion colony. I’ve seen plenty of sea lions in California but none at this close range. You have to mind the alpha males as they patrol their harem but if you clap a couple times they will bounce off. The young sea lions are learning to hunt and the even younger ones are nursing from patient mothers. The Galapagos hawk, or the sky-master as our guide likes to call them, are quite frequent hunting smaller lizards. You can get closer to the larger marine iguanas that have no natural predators but the smaller ones are a bit skittish especially if you cast a shadow over them as they think it’s a hawk coming for a snack. There are plenty of marine iguanas who look at you with disinterest as we made our way through blue-footed booby colonies. The pale blue webbing is unique among birds and used for mating purposes. It is rather comical seeing the male proudly lifting his feet to show to prospective mates and I keep chasing the tune “blue suede shoes” out of my mind. These were contrasted nicely by the red-footed boobies.
At the end of the trail, overlooking a drastic cliff, we came upon the landing field of the waved albatross. The wind is quite strong here and the heavy birds can hover in the updraft. A few will waddle to the cliff’s edge and debate for quite awhile before making a leap off the edge. While graceful in the air, the landings are amusing. After circling and gathering up the nerve, they will swoop down and land on their feet, tumble forward and often go onto their back. They are very affection to their mate touching their mates face with their beaks and grooming their feathers.
Just off the cliffs is a blow hole and scenic views over the Pacific. We spent some time there looking out on the ocean and watching the antics of the albatrosses. Here’s a group photo of the passengers.
There was more snorkeling that afternoon but I gave it a pass as I wanted to give my sunburn back a break. It was a shame as they swimmers reported seeing some sharks in the Devil’s Crown which would have been nice to view.


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