Posted by: tim ellis | January 1, 2009

Galapagos – Monday 14th July 2008 (Isabella and Ferdinanda)

We set sail this morning around 4 to 4:30, arriving at Urbina Bay on Isabella as we eat breakfast. We have a wet landing on the beach, and have just arrived in time to see a lone baby turtle making his way down to see a lone baby turtle making his way down to the sea – he missed have missed his alarm call.

This whole area was uplifted from the ocean in 1954, so has plenty of coral and barnacle encrusted rocks some distance in land. Plants quickly moved in to the newly exposed areas, and following them came plenty of land iguana (who seem to enjoy lying in, or right beside the trail) and several small and medium ground finch. The last part of the hike is a scramble over some large lava boulders on the beach, where we find marine iguana, lava lizards and flightless cormorant.

It has remained cloudy but very warm all morning, so the visibility for snorkelling is not particularly good, so half of us decide to skip the snorkelling and return to the ship, while the rest go in search of turtles and penguins.

We set sail over lunch for Punta Espinosa on Ferdinanda, where we make a dry landing and walk across lava and beach to see mostly marine iguana – it is a nesting area for them, and we do see some young ones. There is also a young (less than one week old) sea-lion pup, who doesn’t seem to keen on entering the water. On the other side of the isthmus is a marine turtle resting on the beach. According to Franklin it has been doing this for some months, even though according all the studies, it shouldn’t!

We return to the ship and set sail to round the northern tip of Isabella, crossing the equator twice. We are looking for whales and mola mola (ocean sun fish) – we have hardly started when we encounter a pair of Bryde’s whale. We subsequently pass a shark (species unknown), a mola mola, a manta ray leaping out of the water, and some fur seal swimming across the bow. Then at about 5:45 the captain invites us all on to the bridge to watch as we cross the equator. Richard (the steward) serves a cocktail which Franklin assures us will help us to see the red line that runs around the equator if we drink it all!

Crossing the Line

The sailing this afternoon is quite smooth until after dinner, when we have obviously turned a corner and things start to get a bit more rocky.

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