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Published: April 2nd 2008
Galapagos is wildly beautiful. Can´t believe how much life there is here, all around all the time. Truly special place, at a juncture of global energy, confluence of a number of ocean and atmospheric and geologic currents, generating upwellings of nutrients at the very base of the food chain and stimulating such a celebration of life in a barren volcanic landscape. Weird and amazing. Hope humankind can manage to avoid destroying it on our watch.
A particular highlight was snorkeling with sea lions off Floreana Island. They were quite curious and playful, doing underwater acrobatics all around each other and us. A little un-nerving the first time a hundred-pound animal comes rocketing through the water straight toward you, only to veer off a foot or two from your face and dive just below you, leaving a trail of bubbles and an enduring memory.
The marine iguanas here, the only swimming iguanas in the world, have adapted to feed on vegetation from the ocean floor. It´s weird to see a prehistoric-looking lizard paddling through the surf like a floating log. They bask on rocks in the sun on the beach, and let you walk right up to within a few
A day trip snorkelling around Floreana exposed us to these delightful little penguins - the smallest in the world and the only penguins to be found in the tropics
feet away... reassuring to remember that they are vegetarian. Only hazard is that they periodically violently sneeze out salty snot from special glands they have developed to excrete the salt they accumulate from swimming in the ocean. If you´re in the line of fire, you can easily get splooged.
Planning to leave Santa Cruz Island tomorrow, heading west again. Hope to be able to stop for another few days on Isabella, the largest island of the Galpagos and far less populated or touristed than what we've seen so far. Then we leave the Galapagos behind and set out on our longest ocean passage between here and New Zealand, approximately 3000 miles to the Marquesas islands in French Polynesia. We expect to spend 17 to 23 days at sea, (including another stretch of those unpredictable equatorial "doldrums"). There may not be much technology on the islands, so it may be a while before we'll be able to make another blog posting.
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