Posted by: tim ellis | December 31, 2008

Galapagos – Sunday 13th July (Isabella)

We arrived at Isabella overnight, so it is nice and calm when we awake off Punta Moreno. It is warmer and clearer again this morning, although the tops of the volcanoes are still wreathed in clouds. Franklin briefs us over breakfast. We have a lava landing this morning – we have already done “wet” and “dry” landings, is this something new? It turns out to be a dry landing on to the lava plates left by previous eruptions. These can be nice and smooth in places, and quite jagged and sharp in others, with large cracks and some quite thin and less stable parts, making some parts of the trail more challenging.  

We see a large colony of marine iguana, some blue footed boobies, flightless cormorant, and they typically uncooperative penguins on the boat ride in, then walk across the alien landscape, with many cactus and the odd bit of wildlife – flamingo, stilts, moorhen, lava lizards etc.  

We return to the boat and kit up for a snorkel trip by dingy. Franklin says this is area is a good spot for turtles, and we have to see 5 before we are allowed back on board. I’m glad to say I fulfilled my quota, although without my glasses I couldn’t see the octopus, even when Franklin points right at it. (I’m not the only one not to see it, so I don’t feel too upset).

The boat sets sail again while we are eating lunch to move around the coast to Elizabeth Bay. We are not landing here, but do get a prolonged zodiac cruise after the captain has got us to do a second boat drill to prove we were listening to the instructions last time. The zodiacs take us into the mangroves, where we proceed by paddle rather than outboard motor. We even manage to find a cooperative Galapagos penguin ( he obviously didn’t get the memo), as well as pelicans, turtles, cormorant and various fish including a school of golden rays. Chris is also surprised by a close encounter with a playful sea-lion that brushes against his foot which was dangling in the water.

This evening after dinner we go star gazing, but unfortunately the combination of a bright ¾ moon and cloud on the horizon make it less than ideal conditions.

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