Our last day on the Islands, a short trip to Los Tintoreras. The sickness is sweeping through us today. Very sparse at breakfast. In the end though, the girls pulled together as a team (again) and through mutual support managed to rally round to make the short trip to Los Tintoreras.
Our small boat was the ideal viewing point for numerous sea lions. Including one that was tossing a fish it had caught in the air, like a cat playing with a mouse. In swept a huge frigate bird in an attempt to grab the fish from the sea lion (unfortunately just before I had switched from the video camera to the still camera!). Anyway, I got one of my favourite shots of the trip of the receding frigate bird looking back over its shoulder and filling the photo. The final footage of the frigate birds flying below us are actually from San Cristobal – near the statue of Charles Darwin.
We also saw a perched blue footed booby (at last, for me) and another galapagos penguin, staying out of the water to avoid getting its moulting plumage wet.
We moored on Los Tintoreras and saw yet more marine iguanas as well as many sea lions, young and old. We discovered that sea lion poo is very similar to dog poo, but paler and that on occasion marine iguanas have been seen eating it – yeuch, dropping points there guys – you might not be my favourite animal if I keep hearing of things like that!
Though when they do things like this they gain points…
The most amazing part was Shark Canal – when we were told about it I’d imagined riding in a boat up a passage and maybe hopefully seeing a dorsal fin or two piercing the water. Instead we saw a narrow passage about 3m wide and about 20m long and only about 1m deep. It was jam packed with white tipped sharks – most static, some lazily moving up and down the canal. It certainly dispelled the myth that sharks will drown if they stay still. An amazing sight, yet another one that we will never forget.
Julio then took us to a small lagoon – a short boat trip away (hopefully far enough away from the sharks!) to snorkel. Wonderfully clear water – the best yet. Lots of green sea urchins that we could see holding pieces of coral in their spines. The indigestible remains of the coral form most of the sand that makes up the beaches of the Galapagos. Lots and lots of fish, one of them was particularly in love with the camera and kept popping up in shot! There were several porcupine puffer fish, but none of them felt threatened enough to give us a display.
Great schools of fish and then out of the gloom came a turtle, got a great shot of it coming up for a breath of air. The second turtle in the clip below was missing part of its rear right hand flipper – what had happened to that? A tussle with a shark? Caught in a net? We were surprised at how little they used their rear flippers in the water. It didn’t seem to be a hindrance in the water, though if it was a female, maybe it would struggle to dig a nest for its eggs.
An absolutely amazing experience to snorkel in such high visibility with such a range of biodiversity on display.
Did some last minute shopping in the early afternoon, found a cool Tee shirt for my nephew Jacob!
Then it was off for a long walk the length of the beach. The waves were very disappointing today, no point hiring a board (sad face). I made a conscious decision not to take a camera and thoroughly enjoyed my 2 hour paddle through the shallows, listening to Last Broadcast on the way out and Some Cities on the way back. Got to love the Doves! Much as I have enjoyed photography on the Islands, it was good not to feel that you have to record everything you see. Sue had talked about safaris where cameras were not allowed, to make sure that you take time to fully enjoy the experience.
Then all too soon it was time to pack and check the weight of my case with Eleri’s scales – think I’ll get away with a few grams over, can’t bear to leave anything behind! A last Galapagos supper of shrimp curry – decided to go for kill or cure! Have just deleted 2 minutes worth of shaky footage on the video card ready for the views from our 5 seater plane that is taking us in 2 trips to Baltra tomorrow, and from there home eventually.