Male Blue-footed Booby protecting his young. One of my proudest photos yet.
Just so everyone back home can get a glimpse of where I’ve been over the past 3 weeks, here is what my day to day looked like at Jatun Sacha. The accommodations were better than expected. Running water, flushing toilets, electricity, and a kitchen with a propane powered stove and microwave. The showers are cold water only, fed by a nearby creek. There are two old dogs named Negro and Linda, as well as a pig named Ossie. The pig has been domesticated over only the past few weeks, and the plan is to fatten him up and serve him for Christmas dinner. Sad I’ll be missing that. I hated that little guy, as cute as he was.
On one of my last days in Santa Cruz, I visited a beach (not hard to find) full of the marine iguanas (also not hard to find) native to the Galapagos Islands. These iguanas are special because they are the only known iguanas to live on land yet feed entirely from the sea. The iguanas use their thick tails to propel them through the water and have flexible arms with long, soft claws for streamlining. The marine iguana ingests a lot of salt water as a result of this feeding and gets rid of it through constantly ‘sneezing’ while basking on land. A sneeze causes salt to spray from an iguana’s nose and mouth, often showering a clan mate or two. The favour is quickly returned, of course. My gallery here shows these unique reptiles, as well as a beautiful sunset – a rarity in the usual grey evening sky over the Galapagos.
I had a great honour here to be able to work hands on with the giant tortoises endemic to San Cristobal. Our group fed these giant beasts, and as a result, some pretty good photo opportunities arose. They eat giant leaves to feed their giant reptilian bellies. The sight of this is quite amusing. As they are usually timid creatures (they hide away in their shell when you come near), they all rush like a herd of cattle toward you when they see the food being brought to them. Like any animal, they only love you when you’re feeding them. The next set of photos are from a hike we did from the Highlands where our camp is, down to the coast. The small lagoon is freshwater and it is divided from the sea only by that strip of rocks. The Frigate Birds you see are truly massive. The developed males are jet black with a small flap of red skin under the neck. They used the freshwater lagoon for bathing, and perhaps drinking. When they were finished, they flew right over our heads to get out to the ocean for hunting. A very cool spectacle to behold.
I have finally been able to upload the rest of the pictures from the first day from the town in San Cristobal. I had the pleasure to go snorkelling with some of these magnificent creatures over the weekend. They are great fun. With the curiosity of a person, they come right up to your mask, swim around you in circles when you dive, and seem to take joy from their abilities in the water compared to the clumsiness of the people. There are so many sea lions here. You can’t hang out in the beach without befriending a group of them. Aside from their barking, and their smell, they make pretty good beach mates. Goodnight from the Galapagos!
Here’s a semi-complete gallery of a day of work finished off at the beach on the island of San Cristobal. Like I said, upload times here are measured in years so I couldn’t put together a complete album today. I will be heading back to camp today so I will be out of touch for the next while, a week or maybe two depending on if we do any work/have free time in the town. Enjoy!
Before I write, I’d like to say to my loyal followers that down here in the Galapagos Island of San Cristobal, WiFi is few and far between and when I find it, it is the speed of dial up. I also don’t have WiFi or cell connection in camp where I spend my days at least Monday to Friday. Thus, my posts will, unfortunately, be few and far between unless I can find some sort of magical spot on this island that has wicked upload speeds. Posts will happen on Saturdays and Sundays, most likely. I appreciate your support.
This is a gallery of the Old Town in Quito, which I visited a week ago. Incredible churches matched by the surrounding colonial architecture makes for an old town that rivals those in Europe. Enjoy the gallery, and I hope to have some pics of the Galapagos up shortly.