Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Galapagos Expedition | Day 3

Hood (Española) Island, Punta Suarez and Gardner Bay

One of the oldest of the islands, Hood is small and flat with no visible volcanic crater or vent. Located on the western tip of the island, one of the world's densest and most diversified concentrations of wildlife is found at Punta Suarez. The area is famous for its marine iguanas with unique copper-red patches, swallow-tailed gulls, lava lizards, finches, long-billed mockingbirds, blue-footed and masked boobies and oystercatchers.

Nazca booby

Doin’ the booby dance...

blue-footed booby dance

blue-footed booby

This booby was protecting her nesting area and would bite at selected members of our group as we walked by.

blue-footed booby bite

When heavy swells are running, Punta Suarez is also the site of a spectacular blowhole, with thundering spray shooting thirty yards into the air. And boy were the swells heavy the day we visited! I was just wandering down to the water’s edge with the rest of our group when I saw everyone else running toward me yelling something. It was then that I noticed the very high wave coming our way. I ran as far as I could before the wave hit, then I held my camera and lens as high up as possible. The wave was high enough to drench me, but the camera gear stayed dry. Other people in our group did not fair as well. One woman was pushed down onto the rocks by the wave and got pretty cut up. One man was drenched from head to toe along with the camera gear he had on a tripod. Our guide said he’d never seen waves that high in that area before. We later learned of an earthquake in Chile that had taken place the day before. So what we experienced was more or less a tsunami. It was very frightening at the time, and could have been so much worse for us than it was.

swells on Punta Suarez

swells on Punta Suarez

On a trail leading to the western tip of the island, we passed the only nesting sites in the Galapagos of the waved albatross. These huge birds nest here from April to December and represent the majority of the world's population. I think the albatross babies are so adorable!

albatross baby

Gardner Bay, located on the eastern shore, has an awesome beach frequented by a transient colony of sea lions and is a major nesting site for marine turtles.

sea lions

This is the life... the sea lion moms lounge on the beach while their babies play in the surf.

sea lions pups

A Galapagos Great Blue Heron...

Galapagos heron

Hangin’ with the sea lion moms...

sea lions on the beach, Galapagos

sea lions on the beach, Galapagos

Thank you for traveling the Galapagos with me! I love the fact that you’re here!!

Drop me a line if you’re still with me.



Susan said...

OMG! Those pictures are so beautiful! I have an idea for you, Cindy. You should use one of your blue-footed booby pics and design something for breast cancer research about checking your boobies. Or did you already think of doing that?

Veri word: arighti

Cindy said...

Susan, Great idea!