Day 4: North Seymour and Bartolomé Island
North Seymour Travel Blog› entry 17 of 26 › view all entries
The people here are crazy! Today we had to wake up early and be ready to go to North Seymour island by 6:30am! It was before breakfast! I try not to do anything before breakfast.
The reason for the early rise was to see the mating ritual of the Magnificent Frigatebirds. And no "magnificent" is not my descriptor, that's actually the name of the bird. I'm not sure anything is "magnificent" at 6:30am. Magnificent Frigatebirds are pretty large black sea birds. They have a 5-6ft wing span. During mating season the males inflate a large red pouch under their chin. To attract the females they spread their wings wide and sorta shake their heads back and forth to display their red pouch.
After seeing the frigate birds we navigated back to Baltra Island where the Galapagos airport is located. We droped off 4 passengers, picked up 4 more, received additional food supplies and re-fueled our boat. Unfortunately, we didn't receive everything that we needed, as we found out later.
After lunch we navigated to Bartolomé Island. Our boat was running late (again!!) so we didn't have time to go snorkeling. We used the zodiacs to get close to the rocky shore to look for penguins. We saw one. (S)He was cute. Then we headed over for a hike up the big hill on Bartolomé. There were 370 some odd stair steps to get to the top but since Rachel and I are pretty awesome, we didn't have any trouble :-)
The view from the hilltop was cool.
When we returned to the boat, we found out why our boat was always late. Turns out our boat is experiencing engine trouble. One of the two engines is not working and has not been since the first night of our cruise. The most obvious consequence is that all of our travel time is nearly doubled. Additionally, without the extra power of the second engine our boat cannot punch through the waves. This means that every little wave is tossing our boat around like a cork.
Due to our reduced speed, we will not be able to complete our itinerary as planned. The National Park Service has changed our itinerary so that we will visit more near-by islands rather than the outer islands. This is unfortunate because the outer islands have a lot of wildlife that we were excited to see like the flightless cormorant.
Everyone is pretty upset that they waited to tell us this until after we had motored out to sea. Many of us would have cut our trip short and tried to book a different boat.