Over the next few days, we spent our days in the beautiful Galapagos islands. We caught a flight from Quito, to Guayaquil, and then landed in the Galapagos where we were greeted by our tour guide. When then walked on to a bus and where later picked up by Pongas (boats) to land aboard our ship, the Galapagos Legend. First island we got the chance to observe was Santa Cruz which was home to a vast majority of tortoises. They varied in size, from about 2 to 3 feet wide, and appeared to be ancient, although it is hard to estimate the overall age of a tortoise. The larger tortoise were projected to live longer though, thus explaining why there was so many of them surrounding the area.
On the following island, Genovese, we visited the boobies (our team name by the way) and there was 3 different species of the bird: blue footed, red footed and Nazca boobies. The most common bird on the island was the blue footed boobies, even though galapagos is known for the notorious blue footed boobies. They could be because of the two birds hunting patterns, because tourist tend to see blue footed boobies hunting more. That is a topic for another time though; the birds were very energetic overall and have only have 3 major predators known as the: Galapagos Hawk, burrowing owl, and then the short eared owl. We even managed to get lucky and capture a short eared owl capture and swallow its prey whole!
We visited iguanas and flamingos on the next island, Dragon Hill. There were two different types of iguana on this island being land and marine iguanas. It was quite often to find them at first, but within a matter of 20 minutes or so, a few began to emerge along our trail. Along with the wildlife, we also marvelled over the cactus trees which grew to be about 15 feet tall or higher. Before visiting this island, I did not even know that cactus trees existed!
The last island we visited was Santa Fe which contained all of the sea lions. As soon as we arrived to the island, we witnessed a army of sharks trying to surround some baby sea lions. However, the baby sea lions were in a tide pool, so it was hard for the sharks to properly reach them. All the baby sea lions have to do is stay in place in night leave the tide pool, until there parents arrived back from hunting. It was literally like a scene from discovery channel and I loved it. Speaking of sharks, we were allowed to go snorkelling about 3 times over the course of our trip. Despite, for the last time, me not being able to swim, I did get a chance to see a shark my first time snorkeling. At that very moment, I am pretty sure I learned how to swim and retreated as fast as I possibly could. The whole Galapagos experience was a movie and I was more than happy with the way the trip turned out.
(Selfie Pic left to right: Eric Ostrander, Brandon Pollard, Emily McCue)