Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 7: Flamingos!

Note: Because I had no internet connection on the boat, I'm posting these about a week after they actually happened. I'll post one Galapagos post each day, followed by Machu Picchu posts, so you can live vicariously through my diaries and photos.

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We went for a panga ride around Rabida Island this morning, in search of a fur sea lion. All of the sea lions we've seen so far have been Galapagos sea lions, which are the same as California sea lions except that they live in Galapagos. Fur sea lions are slightly smaller, have bigger eyes and a shorter nose, and a slightly different habitat from the other sea lions in Galapagos. And it seemed they were harder to find. But we (Carlos) found one! And so we took pictures.

Yeah, it wasn't a great vantage point. From Galapagos6-Rabida

Next, we landed at the red beach on Rabida, which is red because it has lots of oxidized iron. We strolled around a pond where flamingos have just begun to return, after a la nina-influenced algae bloom destroyed their food supply for 10 years. It was a short hike to a lookout, where we could see the flamingos from higher up. But it was really hot, so we went for a swim. A couple of parrot fish explored our feet.

From Galapagos6-Rabida

We had lunch in our wet swimsuits because not long after lunch we went out for a snorkel, where we saw… penguins! Actually, we only saw them, two of them, on the rocks on the way to our snorkel spot. By the time we made our way back to those rocks they were gone. But we did get a sea lion, an eel, some sting rays, a white-tipped reef shark, three types of sea stars, a swimming and eating marine iguana, and a ton of fish and corals. And nobody got hurt by any of those guys! The water was very clear, and not as warm as would be ideal, but it was cloudy and I didn't get sunburned. It started to rain as we got out, and it rained all afternoon.

From Galapagos6-Rabida

We cancelled our afternoon hike at Sombrero Chino (an islet that looks like a Chinese hat) and instead had a view from the roof of the yacht to Bainbridge Island, which is basically a caldera with a pond in the middle. There were almost 60 flamingos in that pond! So we took pictures. We also watched the first episode of the BBC Galapagos program, which I've seen but it's good and worth watching again. This time, we were able to say, "I've been there!" or, "I've seen that!" for lots of the shots.

Click here for the whole day's album.

See vacation summary (with links to each day).

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