Galapagos Islands: Day 6

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March 13th 2011
Published: April 21st 2011
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Day 6. March 13, 2011: South Plaza and Santa Fe

The awakening
Anne asked Steve to set the alarm for 6:45 AM, so she could take a shower and be at breakfast at 7 am. Anne got up, opened the door to see the sunrise, then jumped in the shower. Well, in the shower Anne noticed that her watch said 5:52! Sad that the iphone doesn’t know what time zone you are in and update the clock accordingly.

We sat at the table with Sverdrup from Norway (he got to the boat after we went to bed). He didn’t speak much English (Anne: maybe he wanted peace and quiet. Steve: maybe he just wasn't a comfortable conversationalist in English). Breakfast and the food the entire week was very good.

South Plaza Island
1st stop……South Plaza. We landed on a dock, and the island was very small. There were some sea lions playing in the surf, and we went for a walk on the island. There were lots and lots of land iguanas everywhere. It was mating season, so they were shades of yellow, and it was also the rainy season, so the island was covered by red and yellow vegetation. The islands are brown most of the year. We also saw Sally Lightfoot crabs, Nazca boobies and their chicks, blue footed boobies, and lava lizards. The male lava lizards would do push ups and then blow up their little red throats trying to attract the females in our group. We could also see a school of fish in the water, seagulls, and marine iguanas.

Santa Fe Island
We went back to the boat and motored about 2.5 hours to Santa Fe (aka Barrington Island). We entered a gorgeous blue protected cove, and we saw green sea turtles when we were coming in. There was also a very dark spot in the water that looked like a large rock. It was a school of fish! Samanta, Boris, and Steve jumped in to snorkel while the rest of us waited patiently (Steve: kinda like sheep) to snorkel from the panga at the appointed 2 PM time. A blue footed booby was hunting, and came crashing down into the water a few feet from the boat. They can dive up to 60 mph and go 80 feet deep! Steve saw this from the water about 10 feet away. It was amazing. Then we all went snorkeling form the panga. We saw sea lions, fish, and Anne learned that her snorkel leaks. It does a little gurgle and then salt water comes in. I guess it is 13 years old, something new for the Christmas list. After an hour, we climbed into the pangas, and we went up to the beach to see the sea lions. We also saw about 12 green turtles and two large rays. We went back to the boat for a quick shower, then back to the island. We hung out with the sea lions for a while, then took a hike. We saw Galapagos doves (named by Steve as "the lesser known Galapagos red footed pidgeon!"), Barrington cactuses (they were more like trees on this island because they adapted UP to get away from the Iguanas and Tortoises), and lots of lava lizards. Then back on the covered sun deck for lounging before dinner. Later that evening, we went up to the top deck to check out the stars (we should've been able to see Orion’s belt, the Big Dipper, and the Southern Cross from the equator). The Big Dipper was a little elusive.

"Danger, Will Robinson!"
Anne noticed that the crew was pulling something out of the floor, so we went to the front stairs to go to the top deck. A little while later, Steve thought that the other boat in the cove was signaling at us. He got the impression that we were drifting uncontrolled towards the rocks. Anne thought he was crazy, as we were supposed to be leaving the cove and moving on to a new island overnight and she thought we were just underway. Then we looked over the front of the boat and saw the end of the anchor chain on the deck. It was not actually connected to an anchor much less OUR anchor. There was a rope going over the front of the boat with a temporary anchor (pulled out of the floor mentioned earlier) holding us in place. We keep watching, and see several crew out in the pangas and in the water with flashlights inside ziplock bags. We also see the “snuba” line and someone underwater. Yikes! After 1.5 hours of searching, the anchor was found, retrieved, reconnected, and off we went. The crew was absolutely amazing. Anne went and got a book called “The Undomestic Goddess” from the library and then slept great from about 11 pm to 4 am.

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