Santa Cruz Island – 2

profile view of the tortoise

The final morning in the Galapagos.   Breakfast at 5:00 am with all our bags packed and ready to go.

It was super choppy getting into the pangas this morning with all the carry-ons but everyone made it with no one and no bags taking a a success!

First stop was El Chato 2 Ranch.   It is an ecological reserve for tortoises.    We donned big mud boots and went for a nice walk thru a cave and then to see the tortoises.  

The wood sign for El Chato Ranch
A tortoise in the water
profile view of the tortoise
front view of a tortoise

They had a little snack and gift shop.   And in the shop, they had tortoise shells -- of course we all had to climb in one to see what it was like to be a tortoise.   It's good their necks work differently than ours - because it was not comfortable.   And in the picture, you will see Aaron - the tour leader having some fun with me in the tortoise shell.

Aaron sitting on top of the tortoise shell that I am inside of

We stayed for awhile and then made a stop at a ravine on our way to the airport - it had started raining so we did not do the walk at the ravine.

a panoramic view of the ravine

Back to the dock where they loaded our suitcases on top of the boats (so happy it had stopped raining) and then on the boat across the water to the other side and on the bus to the airport.

lading the suitcases on top of the boat

A fairly fast flight back to Quito and to the airport hotel.    The Galapagos trip was over with many fond memories and some new friendships.

I'm so glad that I was able to experience some of the Galápagos Islands. It was an interesting and educational trip.        

Santiago Island – 2, Galápagos Islands

the little cove where the panga landed - nothing but lava

This was the last afternoon destination and we returned to Santiago Island...but a different area of the island then the first time we stopped on Santiago Island.    

This side was desolate. Even though the first stop at Santiago Island had a lot of black lava, it also had green and bushes and life.   

Here, it was just destruction.   Black lava as far as the eye could see.

the little cove where the panga landed - nothing but lava

I really had a hard time walking on the uneven lava with my twisted ankle so didn't venture quite as far as some of the other photographers but I was still able to see so many different types of lava.  

rope lava
lava that is very bumpy and round

The volcano erupted about 120 years ago and just now, pioneer plants are starting to take hold.    The pioneer plant is the first plant that starts to grow on the lava.

As I walked on the lava my mind started wandering about Mother Nature.   How She destroys as easy (or maybe easier) than She creates.  Tornados, tsunamis/hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes destroy so much life in seconds / minutes / hours or even days and then it can take years or centuries for life to come back.

nothing but lava as far as the eye can see

During the walk, the naturalists showed us where a tree died, we saw some fossils.  

I know it is natural, I realize that, but my heart ached for all the life that was lost the 120 years ago when the volcano erupted.  Life I can't even begin to know or understand. 

The thoughts put me in a solemn mood as I hobbled along and then finally sat on the lava just watching the impossible blues and greens of the water.

the green and turquoise waters meet the blue sky

One day when the time is right, the island will be teeming with life again.   It starts with the pioneer plant and then other plants will take hold then the birds will come back and maybe some mammals.   

The island is just biding its time until it can once again support life.   Until then, it was a beautiful reminder that life can change in a heartbeat and that all things truly are beautiful if you have the correct perspective.

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Bartolome Island – Galapagos

a view of the rocks and the island across the water

Another early start so we could get to the view point on Bartolome Island nice and early in the morning.

The mornings on the boat always consisted of a nice breakfast and then loading onto the pangas.   

Bartolome Island is a small island with a long walk up to a view point to see 365 around.   Unfortunately, we didn't have a beautiful sunrise but the walk and view were very nice...albeit - quite slow for me on my twisted ankle.

one of the staircases up to the top of the island
a long walkway across the island
a long walkway thru the island
a view of the rocks and the island across the water
the walk ways from the top of the island
A view from the top

It was very windy at the top.   From the top, we could see all around the island.   It was actually cold from the wind at the top and I didn't stay long.   I knew it would take me longer to walk down then everyone else, so I started back down to take it slow with the ankle.  

At the bottom, where we were getting onto the pangas, 2 sea lions had taken up residence.   The naturalist had to gently persuade them to leave their resting place so we could all safely get back into the pangas.

the sea lion sitting where we needed to go to get back on the panga

From the pangas, we went around some of the other islands.   There were boobies fishing and then we saw some penguins.

boobie soaring thru the sky
penguins on the lava rock

The water was a bit rough so it was difficult to photograph the birds and the penguins.

We returned to the catamaran and got ready to go on our next and final snorkel excursion.

It was a bit rough still but I didn't want to miss the last opportunity.  I was secretly (ok, probably not so secretly) hoping for more sea lions.

What I saw was hundreds of different colored star fishes, lots of little fishes, a white tipped shark, and the penguins!  The penguins are so fast.

The naturalist also found a bunch of critters deeper in the water under the shelves made by the side of the island.   I wasn't really up to going underneath, so I didn't see them.

But if you go to snorkel near Bartolome Island, you are bound to see some cool critters.

The below short video is little snippets from that snorkel session filmed on my GoPro camera.   

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Darwin Bay – Galápagos Islands

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

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.

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The Cliff – Genovesa Island, Galápagos Islands

Per usual, the day started early with a 5:00 am breakfast and a 5:45 departure via Pangas.

Unfortunately for me, this departure did not go smoothly.   As I stepped into the panga, I failed to notice the emergency oar under the carpet and as I stepped into the boat - yup, there went the same ankle.   Turned under and I almost went down - not exactly sure how I managed to stay standing and in the panga.

Tears came immediately to my eyes from the pain.  It was suggested I stay behind but I've never missed an outing into the wild and I wasn't about to start now.   After the first minute or so it wasn't quite as bad.

As we motored to the island - I thought - well, maybe I should have stayed back.  I had no idea how I was going to make it up the "stairs" with my camera gear on a bad ankle.

The stairs were cut into the cliff side and were very uneven.   A challenge for some even under the best conditions.

Thankfully, Kelly - the backpacker insisted on carrying my back pack up for me.   I was and am forever grateful for the assist.    It took me a long time on a bad ankle to get up those stairs.

The side of the cliff that we had to get up in order to see the colonies of birds.

Here is a picture (faces blurred for privacy) of all of us coming down after our time up on the cliff.   You can see how steep and uneven the "steps" are.

many people on the steep steps coming down from the cliff

Once we got to the top, it was fairly flat and birds everywhere.   At the time, the naturalist told us the types of birds - but I'm really sorry as I do not remember most of them.

a panoramic view of the top of the cliff

A rare picture of me (thank you Sue) doing what I love

me sitting on the ground photographing birds

A few of the bird images I shot that morning.  

The first frigate is with his pouch deflated and the second is a different frigate with his pouch puffed out.   It was funny watching them when the pouches were out trying to move their heads around because the pouch would get in the way of their beaks.

red footed boobie that had brownish wings and feathers

The walk was short but nice -- full of birds.   On the other side of the island (where the birds are flying in the video), it was extremely windy.   I didn't stay over there for long and walked back to where most of the boobies were.

After I took the treacherous stairs back down to the panga and went back to the boat, it was time for snorkeling.  

The water was very rough at this point and I don't do well with motion sickness and I'm not a very strong swimmer so I was tempted to not go on this excursion -- but as I mentioned above, I have never missed a chance to be in the field, so I took a deep breath and stuffed myself into the wetsuit for the next adventure.

We were told we had a great chance of seeing hammer head sharks on this snorkel.   I remember from my diving days, the one shark they would always make us get out of the water for was a hammerhead shark so I was a bit confused why we were going in search for them.

Between the rough water and the sharks, I was more than a bit apprehensive.

Even though some of the sharks were big, this was a nursery.   I'm not super comfortable in rough open water, so I stayed on top but the naturalist went down and took some pictures for us.

The video was shot on my GoPro camera and the stills were given to me by the naturalist (taken on our snorkel trip)

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Santa Cruz Island – Part 1, Galapagos

A striated heron sitting deep in the mangroves

The day started early - this is the norm for photography trips.   5:30 am breakfast and then at 6:15 we went out on the pangas for a boat trip thru Black Turtle Cove.   The panga ride took about 1.5 hours and it was beautiful.

The cove we were in was so peaceful and quite beautiful.   

There were birds above the water and lots of critters in the water.   The water was fairly clear so we could see them and we all laughed and joked about how whenever our naturalist said the sharks were coming, we all put our arms in the water with our go-pros to film them.   Guess it's good they were little ones with no interest in us or our arms!

It was actually difficult to film the sharks under water hanging over a boat... I got them out of frame a few times, but the video above will give you an idea of what they look like.

Above the water were found a lot of pelicans.    The pelicans have a brown color all the way to the crown when they are nesting.   When they aren't nesting, they are grey and white.   Immature pelicans have light grey on head and chest and white underneath.

white headed pelican sits on the top of a tree
brown headed pelican preens his feathers
a brown headed pelican - nesting

We watched birds fishing deep in the mangroves.  It is absolutely fascinating how they can balance and stretch so far.  This video is a slowed down version of a Strained heron fishing from the mangroves.

A striated heron sitting deep in the mangroves

A striated heron deep in the mangroves.

We watched and photographed another type of heron fishing as well.  Unfortunately, I didn't find out what type this one was.  It was amazing to see how they hung on to the branches sideways and upside down and how much their bodies stretched in order to catch the fish.

A heron stretches far to catch its fish
The heron holds onto the branch with his body hanging off the side and in the water

Towards the end of the panga ride, we were lucky enough to see Cow Head Golden Rays.    They swam by the boat several times and I was lucky enough to get this video of them.   Absolutely beautiful, graceful and peaceful creatures.   I have no idea why they are called Cow Head Rays.

After the Panga Ride, we boarded the boat and stopped at Bakers Island for fuel.  A few people got off the boat and took a bus to the airport in order to get some soda and ice cream.   I decided to stay on board.

We motored back to another part of Santa Cruz Island and stopped at Bachas Beach.   The beach was absolutely stunning with beautiful sand.   

Lava rock on the sand with the ocean

There were a lot of lava rocks with tons of Sally Light Foot Crabs.  I took a few pictures and videos but I preferred to just walk on the beach awhile and just sit and listen and watch the waves coming into shore.   I mean, how many pictures of crabs does one need?   

The red, white and yellow crab on a black lava rock

Although, I do have to admit, they are fascinating creatures.   Watching how they move - being able to be sideways on the side of a lava rock.  The hairs on their feet, their buggy eyes...and of course, their incredible colors!

As the day started turning later, a lot of birds started fishing off the beach.   Watching the boobies fish was incredible they literally look like a speeding bullet.   Several of the members of the group were photographing them but I was so relaxed by the sounds of the waves with the sand beneath my feet, I decided to just enjoy with my eyes and not my camera.

We walked back down the beach and several of us did some stretching yoga - it felt so good!   Then back on the pangas to the boats for dinner and rest.

pelicans on lava rocks with the sky and water

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Rabida Island, Galápagos Islands

Flamingo walking along the water getting ready to eat

In the afternoon, after our first visit to Santiago Island and the bullet fur seals, we headed over to Rabida Island.

This island is known for its red sand and the pink flamingos.   There were 6 mating pairs of flamingos.

6 flamingos standing with their heads buried in wings and one on a nest

They were feeding and the noise they made while feeding was really interesting -- unfortunately I wasn't able to capture it well...but if you listen close in the beginning of the video below, you may hear it. 

Flamingo walking along the water getting ready to eat
And then there was this guy (or gal) giving himself a bath....
flamingo pruning his feathers
flamingo standing so you can see the black feathers on his wings

We saw 2 nests with 1 egg in each!  It was very exciting to the naturalists as flamingos hadn't nested on the island in about 20 years.

flamingo sitting on nest
Flamingo checking on its egg
close up of the flamingo checking its egg

As we were leaving the island, a few sea lions were laying on the red sand.

a young sea lion lays on a  red sand beach

After a short visit to the island, we went for another snorkel.   This was not the best one - lots of fish and a bullet fur seal.  The water felt really cold, so I didn't stay I very long.

There was a bit of drizzle today and very overcast.   After the snorkel, back on board, briefing and dinner...early to bed to get ready for the new day.

Santiago Island, Galápagos Islands

a young fur seal poses with a soft sky behind him

The snorkeling with sea lions was definitely my highlight for the snorkeling and maybe the entire trip -- but this stop in Santiago island was my favorite on land activity.

Fur seals (they are actually sea lions) were my favorite -- but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Another early start with a 5:00 am breakfast (most Galapagos trips do not start so early - I was with a photography group - so we were up early to get the beautiful light and were usually leaving the islands when the non-photography tour groups were arriving).

By 5:45 we were in the pangas and on our way to Santiago island.   A wet landing.   We divided the group in 1/2 and one 1/2 walked up the coast and the other walked inland.   We were doing a big circle.

I was with the group that was walking inland.   It was still early with not much light.   

We saw some birds and a hawk and spiders.   

As I am trying to get over my debilitating fear of spiders, I try to photograph them so I can see the beauty in them.   This one was taken pretty far away but the silhouette shows the hair/fur on its leg (if you zoom in) and you can just make out the spider web in the low light.

This spider is a silver argyle spider.

silhouette of a spider that shows the fur on his feet and a very faint spider web

We turned towards the coast and were rewarded with sheets of lava rocks flowing to the ocean.   

the lava rocks flow towards the sea and some of the rocks are covered in green algae
lava rocks flow to the sea

On the lava, every where you looked were the bright orange and  red Sally Lightfoot Crabs.  

A red and orange sally lightfoot crab rests on a black lava rock

And we also found the Fur Seals!

Fur Seals are actually sea lions and not seals.   They have twice the amount of hair follicles as the Galápagos sea lions and the Fur Seals are smaller than the Galápagos sea lions.

The animals were high above the water and I wonder how the heck they got up into their resting places... did the tide go up that high or were they just more nimble on land than they look?

a fur seal puppy sleeps on the lava rock high above the water on Santiago Island Galapagos
A lava bridge with water underneath and a young fur seal resting on a ledge of the lava high above the water

The same fur seal from a different perspective

We saw several young ones and some of my favorite photos from the entire trip came from these fur seals.

a young fur seal snuggles in between the lava rocks
a yellow crowned night person stands on lava rocks.    bright yellowish orange long legs, grey chest and feathers a light yellowish head and make on his eyes

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

We also saw a lava egret.    A really nice looking bird.   He hunted and killed the crab (which I was in the wrong spot) and then an octopus stole the kill from the egret!    Who knew that those types of things happened in the wild world?

a lava heron - eats a lightfoot crab that it just killed

We also saw marine iguanas - not near as many as on some other islands, but still quite plentiful here.

marine iguana on the lava
profile view of marine iguana

And even a land iguana.   The land iguanas were much rarer for us to see and we never saw a bunch in one spot like we did with the marine iguanas.

portrait of a marine iguana - yellow and brown with lots of scales on his face
orange and yellow and black butterfly

As we left the island on the panga to go back to the catamaran, we passed a rock with blue footed boobies.   We were able to watch these interesting looking birds for several minutes from the panga.

Later in the trip, we saw them hunting - they look like bullets flying down from the sky diving into the water to catch fish!

blue footed boobie - bright blue feet, white chest, blueish face and dark wings stands on a lava rock

then...snorkeling!    lots of cool fish and fur seals!     The fur seals were like torpedos - they moved so fast thru the water -- they were there then gone and then over there and then gone.   They were a bit curious about us but did not interact with us anywhere near the amount the Galapagos sea lions did.   It was still so much fun!

Here are a few of my favorite artistic renditions from this day.   They are available as prints at my travel gallery.  

an artistic image of a seal - the image is mostly black with his whiskers glowing
dramatic black and white of a fur seal
a young fur seal poses with a soft sky behind him
young seal poses on the lava rocks with a pretty pinkish sky behind

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Punta Vicente Roca, Isla Isabela, Galápagos Islands

fur seal puppy sleeping on a ledge over the water

We anchored off of Punta Vicente Roca on the Isla Isabela.   At 2:00 we went out on the pangas.    

We toured the cliff sides from the pangas and it was the first site of FUR SEALS!   Interesting, fur seals are actually sea lions and not seals.   They have double the amount of fur per square inch than the Galápagos sea lions.   

fur seals laying on top of a rock in Punta Vicente Roca Galapagos islands

The first ones spotted were a mama and her puppy fairly high up on the rocks.

After a few minutes, we saw the mama going down the rocks towards the water.   The baby was apprehensive to follow.

(photographing from the panga had it's challenges as there were 7 of us - the panga is drifting and moving up and down with the water and trying to shoot between and over people from a moving boat was I wasn't able to get pictures for all the parts of this story.)

mama seal heads down the rocks to the water as the baby watches her leave

The dexterity of the sea lion to maneuver over the rocks was extraordinary.   

mama sea lion continues down towards the water over steep rocks while the baby looks on
the mama sea lion continues down the steep rocks

The puppy gets up courage and follows mama down to the next ledge.

the puppy starts to follow mom and makes it down to the next ledge

mom goes down a little bit further then what's pictured below

mama fur seal continues down the rocks

and she waits for a big wave

a big wave crashing on the rock where the mama seal is waiting

and disappears into the ocean

the rock washed with water and the seal is gone

The scared puppy stayed on the ledge protected by the little cave.  

the sea lion puppy takes refuge in the cave on the ledge

He eventually got brave and also went down towards the water until a big wave washed him away.  

I saw him go into the water but couldn't get a photograph.   We did not see him meet up with mama but sea lions excel in the water so we are sure he ended up reunited with mom.

We saw more seal puppies and lots of birds on the rocks of the cliff.   Including the flightless cormorant.    

fur seal puppy sleeping on a ledge over the water
a very wet fur seal clings to the side of the rocks
a fur seal poses on the rocks just above the water

Marine iguanas also were lounging on the rocks sunbathing and we saw one penguin.   The penguin was molting and looked quite pathetic.

a molting penguin and marine iguanas on the rocks

as well as blue footed boobies and a Nazca Boobie (the white and black bird below)

blue footed boobie perched on black lava rock
the nazca boobie on a ledge.  this bird is white with black edges on his feathers, gray feet and a yellow/orange beak and black on the edge of his tail

After the dinghy ride, we had a great snorkel.   My favorite one of the whole trip - why?   because there were SEA LIONS!!!   The sea lions were very inquisitive and playful.    This was the highlight of my entire trip to the Galápagos Islands.

I jokingly said that I hope I'm not mistaken for a sea lion (or a beached whale) in my wetsuit, but after watching them in the water, I realized there was no way that could happen.   The sea lions are incredibly skilled and graceful underwater.

It was like watching the best ballet or ballroom dancers on a stage.   The way they moved was mesmerizing.     I captured just a tiny bit of it in this short video below.

It was so hard to not reach out and touch him when he swam upside down in front of me.   I had one hand on the GoPro and the other hand I had holding on to the neck of my wetsuit so I wouldn't touch him - self control is not one of my strengths - but I knew it was bad for I had to make sure not to reach out to touch him.

We had some time to shower and spent some time on deck with the beautiful sunset.

sun setting over the ocean

Downloaded images and then the briefing and dinner.    We didn't move until after dinner because we had to navigate around the north tip of the island.   It was a long navigation - about 9 hours and they warned us there would be 2-3 meter waves.

I was safely flat on my back in bed before the waves hit and it got very rocky and stuff I could hear stuff falling over from the motion.  So grateful we were moving thru the waves while it was night time!

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Fernandina Island, Galapagos – the marine iguana breeding grounds

2 marine iguanas. 1 with his claw on the shoulder of the other

Have you ever seen the documentary "Island of the Dragons" narrated by David Attenborough?   (the below video is the entire documentary)

It was filmed on Fernandina Island...the next stop on the Galapagos journey.

5:00 am breakfast

followed by 5:45 into the pangas to make it to the island and set up before sunrise.

The pangas pulled into a cove and up to a little pier which was slippery and led thru a forested region over to the ocean.

breakfast on the catamaran

First view in the early morning light was a sea lion and then turn the corner and we are greeted with thousands of marine iguanas.

portrait of an iguana in early morning light - with a crab crawling on his shoulder

A marine iguana in early morning light with a crab friend on his shoulder

Fernandina Island is a nesting area for the marine iguanas.   And if you watch the film above, you'll see the trials that the iguanas have to go through to just survive.

We did not witness any of the eruptions or lava flow.  I'm not sure if it was happening on another part of the island or if it just wasn't flowing when we were there.  

We also didn't have the violent seas like they show in the opening of the documentary.   Nor did we have the rough seas like they showed in the movie (and I was very grateful for calmer waters).
2 marine iguanas.   1 with his claw on the shoulder of the other
Sally Light Foot Crab on black lava

After taking pictures of the iguanas and crabs for awhile, there was a walk around the nesting area.  It was during this time that we saw the snakes made infamous in the documentary.    They were waiting for their opportunity to feast on the baby iguanas emerging from their nests.

Baby season had not yet we didn't see the babies running for their lives from the snakes and the birds of prey.

snake in the gravel sand waiting for baby iguanas to break thru the nest

A hawk in a tree looking...probably for prey

A sea lion skeleton

more crabs and then . . . 

hawk perched in a tree
skeleton of a sea lion
sally lightfoot crab sideways on the lava and shell beach


There was a baby sea lion in the water and then 2 moms with their puppies.   

the baby sea lion was crying for his mama.

the moms leave the sea lions on the beach and then go to the sea for food and then come back (hopefully) to feed the babies.

This baby's mama had not come back yet and he was trying to get close to the other mamas and they kept chasing him away.

the calls from the baby were so very sad but the baby was in really good condition so we were hoping it was just a matter of time before mama came back.

young sea lion in the water
young sea lion trying to get close to the 2 mamas with their puppies

Continuing the walk around, we found another young sea lion by himself.   He appeared to be younger than the first one and also looked to be in very good condition!

baby sea lion laying on his back nestled between lava rocks
cute baby sea lion lying in the black lava rocks

Completing the loop, almost back to where we started was another field of marine iguanas.   One of them had a lizard friend.

marine iguana with a lizard on his head

At the little pier where we had to pick up the pangas, were a bunch of sea lions.   They were so playful as they jumped on and off the pier into the water, splashing around.  What a great way to end our visit to Fernandina Island!

As we got back to the catamaran, there was a stowaway.   Could he be any cuter?   Good thing there were two areas for the pangas to disembark so we didn't have to disturb this guy.

a sea lion on the loading platform of the catamaran
a sea lion on the loading platform of the catamaran as seen from the top of the stairs

Shortly after we got back, it was time for snorkeling.   The hope here was to find swimming and feeding marine iguanas.   I did see a few but I found more turtles than iguanas.   Both were feeding off the algae on the rocks.

Another great and full morning in the Galápagos Islands.   Back to the catamaran after snorkeling for lunch and off to our next location for the afternoon.

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