September 30th, 2009 – by: Sads79
The silver trees dominated Rabida
We were up at the crack of dawn (well 7am) for breakfast, which again was pretty damn tasty. Overnight we had anchored off the island of Rabida - a small, stark red island, its colour coming from the high levels of iron before the volcanic activity that formed it. We had a wet landing on the island to explore. The sea lions were there to greet us, very nice of them, especially the alpha male who was patrolling his waters and barking constantly. Our guide (still nameless!) told us about the structure of the island and the vegetation that grows (pretty much just the lava cactus) and we saw where the flamingos used to come to - but due to early tourism paths, they were left unprotected from sea lions who had damaged the habitat and basically crapped everywhere, polluting the water - nice.
Plenty of pelicans, frigate birds and a couple of blue-footed boobies passed regularly and waited for their time to fish off the coast. We got in the small boat and got taken to the snorkelling spot on the other side of the headland - was a bit choppy, but had my first experience of swimming with turtles here - awesome! I was lucky enough to swim with them in the Caribbean a few months ago, and it was fantastic once again, they are such gracious animals without a care in the world.
Marine iguana posing perfectly!!
After lunch on the boat, we sailed round to James Bay on Santiago Island. Again, the sea lions were stretched out on the beach taking in a few rays and were almost oblivious to us as we strolled by. There were also thousands of Marine iguanas - totally black and they blend into the lava so well I had to be careful not to step on them by accident! They’re pretty quiet, except for the occasional snorting of snot, which is how they get rid of the salt they take in when breathing underwater.
James Bay is one of the only places in the Galapagos that you can see Brown Fur Seals, so it was cool to see them - they look a bit different to the sea lions as they have a shorter neck, stubby nose and sound more like sheep than anything else! More great birds(!) - American Oyster Catcher, Galapagos Hawk, Darwin Finch, Galapagos Mockingbird and plenty of Herons - I just loved watching them fish and fighting amongst themselves for the catch. We were pretty much on our own the whole day which I wasn’t expecting as I thought there would lots of other boats with us - the joys of coming off season I guess! We had more snorkelling time (more turtles) and by the time we got back on the boat, the chef had knocked up some banana fritters for us as a snack - delicious! We sailed on for a couple of hours towards Bartolome and had a beautiful sunset - quite a serent experience sailing into the sunset in the Galapagos islands as the Frigate birds and gulls followed so close to the boat they were practically sitting on us…just a brilliant day.
Not a bad sunset....