Darwin Bay – Galápagos Islands

Aaron, the leader of this trip, was very excited to go to Darwin Bay as it is a beautiful nesting bird sanctuary with many types of the Galapagos birds.   

For me, the sea lions once again stole the show.   Birds are beautiful, but it's the mammals that really intrigue me.

We visited this part of the island from the panga with a wet landing onto a white shelly beach.   There was another boat and group of people laying on the beach when we got there - but what I noticed right away were the sea lions.

One sea lion was very inquisitive about one of the sun bathers from the other group.   We weren't sure quite how close he was going to get to her -- seemed like he wanted to lay on her towel.   

a young sea lion very close to a sun bather on the white beach

The other group left soon after and our group had the island to ourselves.   Many of the photographers in the group went straight inland to start photographing the nesting birds.   

I, on the other hand, stayed on the beach watching the sea lions.   

sea lion nursing
close up of a light colored sea lion sleeping
mama and baby sea lion laying side by side
sea lion sleeping on the beach

There was one sea lion in particular.   It was a little one - a baby in my eyes and he was desperately looking for his mama.   

baby sea lion covered in sand

As I had learned before, the mama sea lions leave the babies on the beach to go into the water to feed and then when they have eaten enough, they come back to where they left their babies and they are reunited and the mama nurses their baby.

A sea lion will not nurse another baby - so if a baby is separated from its mama or the mama is killed when out feeding, the baby will end up dying since it is not "normal" for a sea lion to adopt another infant.

As different sea lions came onto the beach, I kept watching "my" little one to see if he would reunite.   One after another after another and none of them was the mama.   

The baby would go up to each of them crying his pitiful little cry trying to ascertain if that adult was mom and he was rejected each time.

I finally left the beach to go look at the nesting birds.

red footed boobie perched on a cactus
a brown heron
an adult gull with her chick
A frigate bird showing his irridescent feathers
a frigate bird chases a gull that has nesting materials
a yellow cactus flower
2 red footed boobies deep in the bush

I actually took one of my favorite images of the trip.  This is such an unusual image for me because usually I'm all about the big mammals but this sweet little gull chick stole my heart and this one will be hanging on my wall at home soon.

a grey and white fluffy baby gull takes shelter under mamas gray and white wing

I also took a few short videos of some of the birds. 

But, I was eager to get back to the beach to check on "my" baby sealion.

portrait of a sea lion covered in sand
young sea lion laying in the sand

Unfortunately, we had to leave before mama came back and I was left wondering if something tragic had happened or if the mama sea lion was just enjoying some time without the little one.      

The little one at the end of the video below was the one I had been watching all afternoon.   This video was taken just before our group had to leave the island.

That's one "problem" with being in the wild.   There are so many stories that are left unfinished.   Did the baby reunite?   Where was mom?  Why was she gone so long?   Did she get enough nutrition to be able to feed the baby?   Did he live to independence?   So many questions, and no answers.

To view images from my trip to the Galapagos and my other trips to wildlife rich destinations, be sure to visit my photo gallery at

LisaMRoberti.photos


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