PUERTO EGAS - MARINE IGUANAS, SEA LIONS, SNORKELING OH MY!??!?!!?

San Salvador Island Travel Blog

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WOW


DAY 8 (SEE VIDEOS)
(SAW A MOTHER SEA LION NURSING HER BABY.....WHAT A TRIP)


I went snorkeling today. I saw so much marine life. I saw parrot fishes, king angels, damsels, plenty of blennies, rabbit fishes, and a ray. I hope my photos from my underwater camera come out clear. It was a clear sunny day too. I got as far as ¼ mile from shore.  I wanted to go further but, i had no "swim buddy" :(


 

NOTE: MY PHOTOS FROM MY UNDERWATER CAMERA  ARE UPLOADED 5/15/08



The Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) is an iguana found only on the Galapagos Islands that has the ability, unique among modern lizards, to live and forage in the sea.

MARINE IGUANA
It has spread to all the islands in the archipelago, and is sometimes called the Galapagos Marine Iguana. It mainly lives on the rocky Galapagos shore, but can also be spotted in marshes and mangrove beaches

 

Description

 

On his visit to the islands, Charles Darwin was revolted by the animals' appearance, writing:

 

 The black Lava rocks on the beach are frequented by large (2-3 ft) most disgusting clumsy Lizards. They are as black as the porous rocks over which they crawl & seek their prey from the Sea. I call them 'imps of darkness'. They assuredly well become the land they inhabit.

 

In fact, Amblyrhynchus cristatus is not always black; the young have a lighter coloured dorsal stripe, and some adult specimens are grey.

MARINE IGUANA
The reason for the sombre tones is that the species must rapidly absorb heat to minimize the period of lethargy after emerging from the water. They feed almost exclusively on marine algae, expelling the excess salt from nasal glands while basking in the sun, and the coating of salt can make their faces appear white. In adult males, coloration varies with the season. Breeding-season adult males on the southern islands are the most colorful and will acquire reddish and teal-green colors, while on Santa Cruz they are brick red and black, and on Fernandina they are brick red and dull greenish.

 

Another difference between the iguanas is size, which is different depending on the island the individual iguana inhabits. The iguanas living on the islands of Fernandina and Isabela (named for the famous rulers of Spain) are the largest found anywhere in the Galápagos.

LOVING
On the other end of the spectrum, the smallest iguanas are found on the island on Genovesa.

 

Adult males are approximately 1.3 m long, females 0.6 m, males weigh up to 1.5 kg.

 

Behaviour

 

As a cold blooded animal, the marine iguana can spend only a limited time in the cold sea, where it dives for algae. However, by swimming only in the shallow waters around the island they are able to survive single dives of up to half an hour at depths of more than 15 m. After these dives, they return to their territory to bask in the sun and warm up again. When cold, the iguana is unable to move effectively, making them vulnerable to predation, so they become highly aggressive before heating up (since they are unable to run away they try to bite attackers in this state).

MY FAVE PIC OF THE DAY :)
During the breeding season, males become highly territorial. The males assemble large groups of females to mate with, and guard them against other male iguanas. However, at other times the species is only aggressive when cold.

 

Marine iguanas have also been found to change their size to adapt to varying food conditions. During El Niño conditions when the algae that the iguanas feed on was decreased for a period of two years, some were found to decrease their length by as much as 20%. When food conditions returned to normal, the iguanas returned to their pre-famine size. It is speculated that the bones of the iguanas actually shorten as a shrinkage of connective tissue could only account for a 10% length change.

 

Conservation

 

This species is completely protected under the laws of Ecuador, and is listed under CITES Appendix II.

BABY SEAL LION
El Niño effects cause periodic declines in population, with high mortality, and the marine iguana is threatened by predation by exotic species. The total population size is unknown, but is, according to IUCN, at least 50,000, and estimates from the Charles Darwin Research Station are in the hundreds of thousands.

 

Threats

 

The marine iguanas have not evolved to combat newer predators. Therefore, cats and dogs eat both the young iguanas and dogs will kill adults due to the iguanas' slow reflex times and tameness. Dogs are especially common around human towns and can cause tremendous predation. Cats are also common in towns, but also occur in numbers in remote areas, where they take a toll on iguanas.

 

Evolution

 

Researchers theorize that land and marine iguanas evolved from a common ancestor since arriving on the islands from South America, presumably by driftwood.

SEA LION PRETENDING TO BE A SHARK :)
It is thought that the ancestral species inhabited a part of the volcanic archipelago that is now submerged.

 

A second school of thought holds that the Marine iguana may have evolved from a now extinct family of sea-going reptiles.

 

Santiago Island is an island of the Galápagos Islands. It is also known as San Salvador, after the first island discovered by Columbus in the Caribbean Sea (see San Salvador Island), or as James Island. The island, which consists of two overlapping volcanoes, has an area of 585 km² and a maximum altitude of 907 meters, atop the northwestern shield volcano. The volcano in the island's southwest erupted along a linear fissure, and is much lower. The oldest lava flows on the island date back to 750,000 years ago.

 

Marine Iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, land and sea turtles, flamingos, dolphins, and sharks are found here.

SPA TIME
There are a large number of goats and pigs, animals which were introduced by humans to the islands and have caused great harm to the endemic species. Darwin Finches and Galápagos Hawks are usually seen as well as a colony of Fur Seals. At Sullivan Bay a recent (1897) pahoehoe lava flow can be observed.

 

Puerto Egas, south of James Bay and west side of Santiago is one of the best sites. There is a long, lava shoreline where eroded rock formations, house an excellent variety of wildlife. Marine iguanas bask in the sun while land iguanas scater around feeding on exposed algae. The tide pools contain many Sally Lightfoot crabs, which attract other types of hunters. Following the trail Fur seal lions are found. Puerto Egas is not only a good spot for taking pictures but also perfect for snorkeling and seeing many species of tropical fish.

 

Sullivan Bay is especially fascinating for those who are interested in geology and volcanology.

You can walk over the uneroded, black lava flow covered with lava bubbles and tree-trunk molds in the surface. There are two small beaches where turtles come for nesting.

 

Cousin's Rock is a well known dive site and is situated off the east coast of Santiago. It is a triangular rock that rises about 10m out of the water and is made up of many layers of volcanic rock.

yheleen says:
wow... love ko talaga sea lions.. thanks a lot for posting these pics and writing the story.. :)
Posted on: May 16, 2008
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WOW
WOW
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
LOVING
LOVING
MY FAVE PIC OF THE DAY :)
MY FAVE PIC OF THE DAY :)
BABY SEAL LION
BABY SEAL LION
SEA LION PRETENDING TO BE A SHARK …
SEA LION PRETENDING TO BE A SHARK…
SPA TIME
SPA TIME
SKUA
SKUA
PARADISE
PARADISE
LAVA HERON
LAVA HERON
GALAPAGOS PENGUIN
GALAPAGOS PENGUIN
BROWN PELICAN
BROWN PELICAN
SEA LION
SEA LION
RELAXED
RELAXED
MUMMY NURSING HER BABY
MUMMY NURSING HER BABY
GRUBBING
GRUBBING
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
BABY SEA LION
BABY SEA LION
DRINK DRINK DRINK
DRINK DRINK DRINK
BABY HUNGRY
BABY HUNGRY
HMMM
HMMM
FLOWER
FLOWER
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
BEACH
BEACH
:)
:)
CLEAR
CLEAR
WATCH OUT
WATCH OUT
MUM :)
MUM :)
MARINE IGUANAS
MARINE IGUANAS
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
GREEN
GREEN
LOVELY
LOVELY
BABY SEA LION
BABY SEA LION
BLUE
BLUE
CLOUDS
CLOUDS
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
RAINBOW
RAINBOW
MY FAVE
MY FAVE
SHELVES
SHELVES
ROCKY
ROCKY
DESSERTS
DESSERTS
PARROT FISH
PARROT FISH
RABBIT FISH!??!!?
RABBIT FISH!??!!?
KING ANGELS
KING ANGELS
JOHNS BUM :)
JOHN'S BUM :)
PARROT FISH
PARROT FISH
ANGEL?!?!?!
ANGEL?!?!?!
?
?
PARROT FISH
PARROT FISH
KING ANGELS
KING ANGELS
HELLOOOO JOHN :)
HELLOOOO JOHN :)
SCHOOL OF FISH
SCHOOL OF FISH
MARINE IGUANAS WALKING ON THE BEACH
MOMMY SEA LION AND BABY SEA LION …
San Salvador Island
photo by: arantius