As pumpkin spice season has descended with a flurry, (Trader Joe’s wins the prize for oddball pumpkin pairings: pumpkin salsa, anyone?) here’s my last gasp attempt to call up “my Galapagos feeling.”
A trip to the islands wouldn’t be complete without enjoying the goofy antics of the blue-footed boobies. The name comes from the Spanish word “bobo,” which means clown. The seabirds got the moniker when the explorers observed their clumsy waddling.
boobie and land iguana square-off
The Galapagos Islands were named for their giant tortoises; early explorers thought the shape of the tortoise shells resembled saddles. “Galapago” means saddle in Spanish. These lumbering creatures can weigh up to 800 lbs. and live to be about one hundred. The older they are the less you can see the rings on their shells
Giant tortises at Darwin Center, Santa Cruz
Swamp bath at Galapagos Conservancy, Santa Cruz
Male and female at Galapagos Conservancy
Park rules prohibit taking anything from the islands, so I had to be satisfied with taking photos of some interesting shells.
Green olivine crystals, Floreana Island
Thanks for checking out my pix!
The Galapagos Islands, the chain of volcanic islands about 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador, are a wildlife lover’s dream. On my trip this summer, I got to see creatures found nowhere else: pre-historic looking marine and land iguanas, a variety of aquatic birds, including blue-footed boobies and the impressive gigantic tortoises. Hiking among its landscapes—sandy beaches, expansive lava fields and desertscapes, which change from island to island—I got to experience how unique this region truly is. As Charles Darwin so aptly said about the Galapagos Islands in The Voyage of the Beagle, the account of his expedition to the islands that led to the development of the theory of evolution: “The archipelago is a little world within itself …”
Kicker Rock: impacted ash thrust from the ocean during volcanic eruption
Kicker Rock from afar
View from Sombrero Chino
300-year-old pricky pear cactus
As the islands are considered a national park, tourism is highly controlled. Upon arrival, we were given a list of regulations, particularly about how to interact with the wildlife. In a word: Don’t! No physical contact, no aggressive gestures and keep voices down. Consequently, the animals don’t consider humans as predators, and they freely come right up to you. Let me tell you, when sea lion pups would flop at my feet or glide around me while I was snorkeling, I’d have to fight every impulse to reach out and touch them.
This sea lion barked at the person sitting here to move, then when vacated took the spot.
Soaking up the sun
Sea lion pup
Nice life if you can get it
Next post: boobies and tortugas!