Choose Very Wisely

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February 25th 2023
Published: April 4th 2023
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Giant TortoiseGiant TortoiseGiant Tortoise

Cerro Colorado Reserve
These were the ominous words given in the nightly briefing regarding the choice between a Zodiac excursion along the shoreline or a hike at Punta Pitt on San Cristobal Island, which was described as challenging. The choice was simple in my mind. This is the only place in the Galapagos to see 3 kinds of boobies, and I wanted to see the red footed booby. Good, bad, or indifferent, I was going hiking and was glad that I had the volcano climb under my belt to boost my confidence.

After a wet landing on the beach at Punta Pitt, we changed into our hiking shoes, and started the hike through a narrow, rocky ravine. It was not as treacherous as I had anticipated, which made me happy as well as the fact that we were doing it in the morning, so it wasn’t as hot as it would be later. The hike wasn’t as arduous as I had anticipated but did require paying attention to footing. I am not known for my grace, balance, or attention to what I am doing, so plowed through with a smile on my face and camera in my hand. As we hiked, we chattered
Blue Footed BoobiesBlue Footed BoobiesBlue Footed Boobies

Love the way they lift their feet
amongst each other, and started learning more about our fellow travelers. Sebastian our guide pointed out frigate birds resting on the steep rock cliffs, land iguanas, and later in the hike, lots, and lots of boobies. Blue footed boobies, Nazca boobies, red footed boobies. It was a literal booby fest with the birds on the ground, in trees, and flying around. Not to hammer the point home, but I was in booby heaven.

The terrain of this island was harsh and austerely beautiful. Plants sprouted from rocks where I would never imagine they could. The walls of the cliffs had fascinating striations; large holes dotted the sides of the cliffs from where gasses bust out of the hot lava as it cooled, forming this island. Now, I have said this before, and will again. I was focused on my footing and not falling, the scenery, boobies, and most everything other than the scientific facts that were being shouted down as we hiked. If I don’t correctly relay the science behind all these facts, please know that A: this island is beyond amazing, and B: you shouldn’t use this as part of a research page. This is for fun only.

The 3 week old bird
Once we reached a nice flat space, we came across a young, fluffy, white bird by itself in a tree. Sebastian told us that this was Wilson, a 3 week old bird, although I can’t remember which type. How he knew the bird was 3 weeks old was because he had led a tour 3 weeks ago and the bird had just hatched.

We took a zillion photos, and continued past land iguana homes, which are holes in the ground. Shortly after that, we saw two blue footed boobies doing a mating dance. The male hopped from foot to foot, strutted around, hopped up to balance on a small rock and spread his wings. Sadly, the female was not into this chap, so the dance continued to no avail. That we were 10 feet or so away did not faze either of them. This is one unique feature of the Galapagos Islands that is so often brought up. The animals have been so shielded and protected from humans, that they don’t fear us. To them, we are simply other animals. It was amazing to be so close to birds, iguanas and later in the trip, tortoises. I had heard about this, but experiencing it is vastly different than hearing it.

Once we had seen more beautiful scenery and nature, views of the ocean and wildlife than I thought possible, it was time for the hike back down the rugged trail. Going down was easier in terms of exertion but was more challenging to find good footing and stay upright. We all made it down safely and rendezvoused with the other 2 groups. One had gone up behind us, while the other took the Zodiac boat excursion. I took the time to try out my snorkel mask in the warm water. It was rather murky, so there wasn’t much to see, but to be honest, I have only snorkeled once before, and that was in a small underground river at Xcaret near Cancun, Mexico. Had I become scared or panicked, I could have simply stood up. Deep water snorkeling was going to be more intense, and I needed to choose wisely.

Merry Jo and Dave had their wet-suits on but abandoned their masks due to the low visibility of the water. They are experienced divers, so breathing underwater is not new to them. They graciously gave me tips and pointers and were there for support as I gasped, choked, swallowed sea water, and finally got the hang of it. As you recall, I don’t even like swimming in a pool, so this was so far outside my comfort zone that I needed to use binoculars just to see it. Did I feel confident for the first time going into the deep? Absolutely not. Was I going to do the excursion? Positively yes. Wise or not, it was going to happen. I am not known for always making wise choices, but I am known for lots of fun choices. Hopefully this will end well.

Back on board, I had the most enjoyable ceviche accompanied by the traditional fried plantain and popcorn, and then babyback ribs. Although they had good flavor, they needed another hour or so of slow cooking to make them how I refer to my babyback ribs on menus: fall of the bone. These required surgical skills to strip the meat from the bones. Quite out of character, I did not say anything other than to whisper this to my table mates. There was no cry of outrage, no dramatic scene of me throwing my plate
Our Daily ScheduleOur Daily ScheduleOur Daily Schedule

This was important to have a picture of each day.
to the ground. And this was a good thing because I would have missed out on the best sorbet I have had in ages. They do know their way around an ice cream maker for sure. After lunch I needed some alone time, so skipped the nature talk in the bar and sat on a deck chair watching the birds fly about as we sailed on the blue sea. It was calming and just what I needed.

Our afternoon excursion was a trip to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on another portion of San Cristobal Island. We were off to see giant tortoises at a tortoise reserve called Cerro Colorado. As we sailed towards the dock in our dinghy, the oh so familiar smell of sea lions became stronger and stronger. They were everywhere I could see. And yes, that smell is well past the nice sea smell we had been enjoying. After the dry landing, (do you remember the difference?) we walked to a gloriously air-conditioned bus for about a half hour ride to the reserve. Hot, sticky, sweaty, these are all good adjectives for the walk through the natural setting while we peered around to spot tortoises. We didn’t have to look too hard though, as they were everywhere. At one point one of the giant ones came walking over the pathway and separated our group. Great photos and truly magical memories will follow me from this day. This reserve hatches eggs in a natural setting without incubators and raises them until they are old enough to be released back into the wild. Our guide was confused as to why there was fencing around small areas, and later discovered that due to the success of this operation, they are no longer taking the eggs to a special area. It is great news that the mission has been successful.

After some souvenir shopping, the only time we will have the opportunity on the islands, we strolled through the sea lions to our dingy and sailed back to the ship, a glorious dinner and good night’s sleep. Tomorrow is the first snorkeling experience, and sink or swim, I am going for it with gusto. Hopefully I will be back to write more blogs.

Additional photos below
Photos: 57, Displayed: 27


Isabella II Isabella II
Isabella II

I liked this picture. Lots going on in it
More ClimbingMore Climbing
More Climbing

But look at the formation of the rocks.

5th April 2023
Cerro Colorado Reserve

Giant Tortoises
Nice pic of meeting a resident Giant Tortoise. Sounds like a great trip but your impending snorkle sounds ominous!
5th April 2023
Cerro Colorado Reserve

Ominous, I like that
The resident Giant Tortoises were very welcoming. It was a great hike through their environment.
5th April 2023

What a great way to spend time . BV has a great way of showing and teaching and learning ,. The best chef i know. Thanks
the island are the best way to see nature at it best .Thanks
5th April 2023

Boobies aplenty!
Dave such thing as too many boobies!
5th April 2023

Boy Howdy
Isn't that a fact!
5th April 2023

A wish choice
We were happy to be on this trip with you. Travel Brenno squeezed every ounce of adventure there was to have and you became very good at snorkeling! Bravo. Time to move to Florida. LOL.
5th April 2023

Travel Brenno, Who Is He?
Yes, I was able to squeeze every ounce of adventure. Not sure where Travel Brenno lives while I am not traveling, but perhaps Florida may hold the answer.
5th April 2023

3 Weeks
5th April 2023

This little bird was so fluffy and content
5th April 2023
Red Footed Booby

Look at those red feet! Beautiful. Wildlife in the wild is the best.
5th April 2023
Red Footed Booby

Very Red Feet
They were almost vermilion. Wildlife at home is absolutely the best.
30th April 2023

Choosing Wisely
It looks like you chose wisely to go to the Galapagos, Brendan! Such amazing experiences, such amazing wildlife. I'm similar with the snorkelling - I'm actually a big fan of swimming (in a swimming pool), but had to really pluck up the courage to go snorkelling in the Galapagos. I was so glad I did it, as I imagine you were too. I visited the same tortoise reserve as you on San Cristobal Island - lovely place, lovely animals! 😊
1st May 2023

Surprisingly, I was very wise
Yes, this trip was very wise. It was more than I had imagined, and I am glad I was open to trying new things. I love that you visited the same tortoise reserve.

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