BARONESS OUTLOOK - YESSSSSSSSSSS I SWAM WITH SEA TURTLES AND MORE......
Floreana Travel Blog› entry 10 of 22 › view all entries
(BROWN PELICANS, LAVA HERON, AND RAYS ON MY!!!!!!!)
NOTE: MY UNDERWATER CAMERA PHOTOS FROM THE MORNING SWIM WAS UPLOADED 5/14/08
I have been very disappointed with my snorkeling activities. I wanted to see more. I asked the other passengers how their morning was taking the advanced level snorkeling activity in “Champion Island” off of Floreana Island. Some of them said it was worth it and more. They saw manta rays, sea turtles, sea lions and white tipped sharks UUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGH I AM MISSING OUT.
I did not choose to go to that excursion because my mum would not be able to do the advanced level. However, there was another advanced level snorkeling at 2pm and it is right before the 4pm low level hike to “baroness lookout”.
I decided to join the others on the advanced level snorkeling to “mystery bay” off baroness lookout , the depth was 15 feet and the maximum of 33 feet. Jamie was our naturalist on this trip. However, I did not sign up for this. Hopefully, they have room for me and 4 others.
I did not bring my underwater camera this time. I only had 4 exposures left. I know I won’t time to change the film on the zodiac. YES I HAVE AN “OLD SCHOOL” 35mm CAMERA.
I was very excited and anxious to swim. I am expecting more than I have seen so far. I was right. When Jamie told Juan, the zodiac driver to stop here, we saw 4 young sea lions very curious to see what Is the commotion was.
As soon as, I put on my mask and fins, I was the first one to jump in and see what everybody wants to come to the Galapagos for. I was on the same boat as Tiara, Ken and the kids. Jamie told us to follow him. Jamie also told us if we needed help to wave our arms to Juan and he will rescue us.
I can’t even describe my feelings when I saw the sea lions swimming around me. They were VERY VERY VERY close to me. One of them almost touched my nose. They were afraid of us.
We swam for a 30mins and I was not tried thanked GOD. I was worried I would not catch us with the group. When somebody popped of the water “TURTLES, TURKLES TURTLES” we all submerged and followed the 3 sea turtles. WOW they are so beautiful. I could not get close. But, I view will be embedded in my mind forever.
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS MY DREAM IS COMPLETE AND MORE. THIS WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY.
After an hour, we headed back o the boat.
WOW THAT WAS THE BEST DAY OF THE WEEK SO FAR………………
Later that evening it was “star gazing” on deck 6, the ship turned off all its lights on the ship to able to see the stars more clearly and the ship turned on its ship lights on the bottom of the ship to see possible some marine life.
I intake so far 5 days of info and my brain is mush HAHAHAH. One of the girls in guest relations studies astronomy.
Which is very interesting to me, I have not seen stars like tonight since Norway 2007. Normally the “big dipper” is facing up, below the equator its upside down. The constellation, crux (southern hemisphere) is only seen below the equator. Since we were in late April, the constellation, Taurus will be its brightest.
After that, we all went to the bow of the ship and watched white tipped sharks, sea lions, and flying fish circling the boat.
Then I was on my way to turn in and Cindy yelled for me. we both saw a lone baby sea turtle swim near the side of the ship. GOOD GOD I hope it won’t be eaten. Then again, it swam all the way from the island to the ship which is about 2 miles away. GOOD GOD , THAT LITTLE GUY SWAM THE WHOLE WAY THOUGH WITHOUT GETTING EATEN……AMAZING!!!!!!
INFO ON THE WILDLIFE I SAW AND THE ISLAND:
The Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) is the smallest of the eight species of pelican, although it is a large bird in nearly every other regard.
It lives strictly on coasts from Washington and Virginia south to northern Chile and the mouth of the Amazon River. Some immature birds may stray to inland freshwater lakes. After nesting, North American birds move in flocks further north along the coasts, returning to warmer waters for winter. Their young are hatched in broods of about 3, and eat around 150 lbs. of fish in the 8-10 month period they are cared for.
This bird is distinguished from the American White Pelican by its brown body and its habit of diving for fish from the air, as opposed to co-operative fishing from the surface. It eats mainly herring-like fish. Groups of Brown Pelicans often travel in single file, flying low over the water's surface.
The nest location varies from a simple scrape on the ground on an island to a bulky stick nest in a low tree. These birds nest in colonies, usually on islands.
Pesticides like DDT and dieldrin threatened its future in the southeast United States and California in the early 1970s. Pesticides also threatened the pelican population in Florida in this period. A research group from the University of Tampa headed by Dr. Ralph Schreiber conducted research in the Tampa Bay/St Petersburg area and found that DDT caused the pelican eggshells to be overly-thin and incapable of supporting the embryo to maturity. As a result of this research, DDT usage was eliminated in Florida and the rest of the country. Along with the American White Pelican, the Brown Pelican is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
* P. o. californicus (California Brown Pelican)
* P. o. carolinensis (Eastern Brown Pelican)
* P. o. occidentalis (Caribbean Brown Pelican)
* P. o. urinator (Galápagos Brown Pelican)
The Peruvian Pelican, Pelecanus thagus, used to be considered a subspecies of the Brown Pelican (P. o. thagus). However, due to its well-defined allopatry and because it is much larger and heavier than its relatives, it was reclassified as a separate species.
The Brown Pelican is the state bird of Louisiana.
The Lava Heron, Butorides sundevalli, is a species of heron endemic to the Galapagos Islands. The adult is slate-grey, which helps it blend in with the hardened lava. The back feathers typically have a silvery sheen and it has a short crest on its head. When breeding, the heron has a black beak and bright orange legs, but they fade to grey after the breeding season. Lava Herons are typically seen hunched over and they have a sharp alarm call. These highly territorial birds are found in intertidal zones and mangrove groves on all of the Galapagos islands.
The Lava Heron stalks small crabs and fish slowly before quickly spearing and eating them. They have also been known to eat the flies that gather near cacti. Unlike most herons, these birds nest in solitary pairs in either the lower branches of mangrove trees or under lava rocks.
This heron is sometimes considered a subspecies of the Striated Heron, or even just a color morph of it. However, it is typically maintained as a separate species.
The Manta Ray (Manta hamiltoni, mantaraya), with its large lobes, long mouth, thin tail, and massive three-meter wingspan, is an amazingly beautiful, graceful, and unassuming creature. And watching it swim or jump out of the water to remove annoying parasites or remora is a truly unforgettable experience. They feed on plankton near the surface of the water, making visual sightings from the ship or dinghy a fairly common occurrence.
They are often seen in open water between the central islands, most often from the cliff at South Plaza or from the beach at Rábida.
Floreana Island is an island of the Galápagos Islands. It was named after Juan José Flores, the first president of Ecuador, during whose administration the government of Ecuador took possession of the archipelago. It is also called Santa Maria after one of the caravels of Columbus. It has an area of 173 km² and a maximum altitude of 640 metres. It is one of the islands with the most interesting human history and one of the earliest to be inhabited. Pink flamingos and green sea turtles nest from December to May on this island. The "joint footed" petrel is found here, a nocturnal sea bird which spends most of its life away from land. At Post Office Bay, since the 18th century whalers kept a wooden barrel that served as post office so that mail could be picked up and delivered to their destination mainly Europe and the United States by ships on their way home.
When still known as Charles Island in 1819, Floreana Island was set alight by a sailor from the Nantucket whaling ship the Essex. On the same voyage one year later the Essex was sunk by a massive bull sperm whale.
It also the sixth largest island in the archipelago and one of the four islands that Charles Darwin visited, aboard the HMS Beagle.
Baroness Lookout, in the 1930’s Floreana becomes a settling for intrigue and mystery. A german dentist and his mistress, a young family (the Wittmer family who still live on the island) and self proclaimed baroness with three men came to settle in the island. Shortly after the baroness and her lovers arrived chaos began.