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Published: February 25th 2008
Cerro Dragon, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
February 17 2008
We arrived at Rabida Island before breakfast after a 2 hour cruise from Sullivan Bay. Rabida is a small island just south of Santiago. It is characterized by red sand beaches. We had a wet landing on the beach, and saw lots of female sea lions lazing about, including one nursing a pup. A male sea lion swam back and forth along the beach barking at us, probably warning us away from his harem. We walked down the beach and saw marine iguanas, pelicans, and blue-footed boobies. Afterwards, we took a trail around a salt-water lagoon that occasionally hosts flamingos. The flamingo population has mostly been driven away by black rats (carelessly introduced by man). The rats eat the eggs and young. The trail led us up to a few viewpoints of the island; as can be seen in the pictures. After our walk, we went snorkelling under some cliffs and saw lots of fish, a sea lion under water, and a glimpse of a white-tipped shark.
After lunch, we cruised for two hours to the western shore of Santa Cruz Island, to a landing spot called “Cerro Dragon”. On our way over to Santa
Cruz, we were joined by a school of porpoises who played around at the front of the boat as we went. We had a dry landing, and were greeted on the shore by marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies. While marine iguanas exist on many islands, each island seems to have its own variety - they come in different sizes and colours. For example, the marine iguanas on Rabida were small, Cerro Dragon they were a bit bigger and had more colour variations, and as you will see in a later blog, the marine iguanas on Fernandina were huge.
I’m not sure of the exact significance of the name of the area is, which translates to “zero dragons”. I know the iguanas are sometimes referred to as dragons, and there was a pack of feral dogs that nearly wiped out a large land iguana colony around 1990, killing hundreds of them. The land iguanas were re-introduced to the area, and we saw a number on our walk. They were the highlight of that location; it was the only place on the tour where we saw the land iguanas. Again, because of the restrictions of the trail, I was glad to
Rabida Island, Galapagos
have a long lens to get pictures of the iguanas, most of which were a fair distance from the trail.
One of the species that Darwin singled out in his evolution theories was the finch; he found many varieties of finches that had adapted to the island and available foods, with specific features such as different sized beaks. I didn’t spend much time trying to get pictures of different finches, but did find one close up at Cerro Dragon.
We got underway right after getting back on board the boat at 5 PM for an overnight cruise to Puerto Villamil on the south end of Isabela Island. It turned out to be one of the rougher rides of the trip as we were again into wind and chop.
Tot: 0.082s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 11; qc: 68; dbt: 0.0165s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb