Cruise Day 2 - Isla Sante Fe and South Plaza

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March 14th 2010
Published: March 19th 2010
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Santa Fe and South Plaza

Isla Sante Fe is the larger island to the south, then we motored to the two Isla Plazas, landed on the south Plaza.

Jim and sealionsJim and sealionsJim and sealions

Trying to step between them all! A lot of very young pups.
The boat started its engines at 3 am to make it's way from Puerto Ayora to Santa Fe for our first island landing. It seemed to take a while for them to get cranked up to a smooth rhythm, but they got it eventually. We awoke to our first real Galapogos island scene - a remote beach on an uninhabited island. Uninhabited by people, that is, as the beach was quite crowded with sea lions. It's breeding season, so there are many pups around. We were warned about the males patrolling their beaches - they don't eat for up to 5 or 6 weeks as they are constantly on the lookout for rivals trying to take over their territory, and humans are no exception. If they are approaching and barking, we were told, back away, both on land and in the water.

A short walk on the island saw many land iguanas. We saw some at the Charles Darwin Station, but these are natural and wild. Again, they are totally unafraid and only move if the think they are in danger of being stepped on. The land iguanas grow quite large, much bigger than the marine variety, and are lighter
Cute sealion pupsCute sealion pupsCute sealion pups

They love to cuddle (don't we all?)
in colour - sandy yellows, oranges and browns. Marine ones seem to generally come in grey. Lots of photos with the Canon.

We returned to the boat to get our gear for our first snorkel - with the sealions. Here was my first chance to use the new underwater digital, so of course I forgot to take it. The snorkelling wasn't spectacular, there were a few fish around, but the sealions were fun. The big bull raced around us, checking us out, as soon as we were in the water but then kept its distance, as long as we kept ours. There were younger ones near a channel to the sea, enjoying the currents and waves so it was hard to get too close, but close enough.

After lunch back on the boat, we motored to South Isla Plaza (there are two of them). Very flat, seemingly barren islands, they are home to a forest of cactus trees endemic to the Galapagos. They look like prickly pear, but grow on a tall wooden trunk. The other dominant species here is more land iguanas. They were feasting on the crop of yellow flowers brought on by the rain -
Prickly Pear cactus TreePrickly Pear cactus TreePrickly Pear cactus Tree

Same as our beloved prickly pear, but on a trunk! The wood is quite porous though, not much use for anything.
taking advantage of it while it lasted a few short weeks. Otherwise they eat the cactus and its flowers, but they are harder to get and sparser. Right now, food is in abundance.

Back on board, motored to tomorrow's location. Willy, the senior of two guides, entertained us most nights with his guitar and bad magic tricks.

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


Naomi and Land iguanaNaomi and Land iguana
Naomi and Land iguana

Oour interpid wioldlife photographer
Gap 5 (Galaven I)Gap 5 (Galaven I)
Gap 5 (Galaven I)

Our boat, taken from South Plaza
Cairn on South PlazaCairn on South Plaza
Cairn on South Plaza

No, it's not a rubber iguana! Alive and there of it's own accord.
Land IguanaLand Iguana
Land Iguana

Beautiful creatures to look at - it's almost like they are posing for you.
Land iguana eatingLand iguana eating
Land iguana eating

They love the flowers when they are briefly out
Lava Lizard and IguanaLava Lizard and Iguana
Lava Lizard and Iguana

Tis is not as uncommon a sight as you might think - I guess the lava lizard is trying to share the warmth!

Willy was the senior guide, very knowledgable (all self-taught) and passionate about his country and the Galapagos.

19th March 2010

Great photos
Loved the photos. You look like you're having a geat time. Cheers, Anne

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