Showing posts from October, 2017

San Cristobal and Lobos Island, Galapagos, October 31, 2017

San Cristobal is the only island with fresh water and an airport in town.  It's the fifth largest island and has the second largest population.  The Chatham mockingbird is only found here.  It was first settled in 1880 by Manuel J Cobos who established a sugar factory.  He 'hired' prisoners to work in his factory, imported train cars and even minted his own money called the cobo.  His empire lasted 13 years until his workers revolted and killed him in 1904.  His son took over but he was not a businessman so was not successful.

I had two works of art this morning-

I think Alex likes me!  He's 30, young enough to be my son!
We went to town - Puerto Baquerizo Moreno-

to visit the museum.  It explained everything I've already read in Lying Planet including the tectonic plates, the Panama Current which brings warm water to the archapalego and the Humboltd Current which comes from the south and brings cooler water.  More than just the Norwegians and Manuel Cobos tried …

Suarez Point, Española Island, Galapagos, October 30, 2017

The day started with another creative decoration on my bed, complete with wine, glasses and an open Kindle-

I'm not the only one getting so well treated!  She's even wearing headphones and shoes!

We had a fantastic morning at Suarez Point on Isla Española.  It started out with marine iguanas, this time, multi colored-

There were many-

Next we saw Waved Albatross.  They show up on Española in January after spending the last few months flying over water.  They lay their egg, hatch it after 60 days, look after it and in _______ it's time to leave.  If the baby isn't ready, too bad.  They leave without him/her-

A juvenile-

A pair of albatross were also courting.  They did a dance where they would both bend their necks to the outside then sword fight with their beaks-

Then open their mouths wide-

And start again!

We came across an abandonned albatross egg.  They are quite large.  It would probably make a 3 or 4 egg omelette-

Next we saw Nasca Boobies-

We saw a pair mating.…

Floreana Island, Galápagos, October 29, 2017

Because the islands were never connected to the mainland, all species had to somehow cross the 1000 km of water.  Some reptiles, mammals, plants, insects and land birds might have been carried across on floating vegetation.  Plant seeds and insect larvae may have been in the animal's stomachs and/or attached somehow to their bodies.

Today, there are birds born with different bills than their parents that allow them to take better advantage of their surroundings.  After many generations, this new bill is a favorable trait that eventually becomes the norm.  Then, the differences between the original animals and the 'new' animals produce a new species.  This is the thinking behind Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

This morning's masterpiece: so cute!

We visited the island of Floreana this morning-

to see sea lions, flamingos-

and blue footed boobies-

After, we snorkeled in 3 different spots looking for Galapagos sharks.  We found a few, the largest …

Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos, October 28, 2017

The islands are 4-5 million years old and were formed by underwater volcanoes erupting and rising above the water surface.  Less than 20 km from the coast of the northern islands, the water is over 3000 m deep!  Hope we don't sink!  We only see the top third of most of the volcanoes/islands.  Most of the islands are made of basalt which is more fluid than most volcanic rock.  When basalt erupts, it's in the form of lava rather than in explosions so the Galapagos have gently rounded shield volcanoes rather than the typical cone shaped ones.

This morning we went to the town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island-

 to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station.  We weren't the only ones visiting the town-

At the Research Station, we learned about Solitary George, a 100 kg, 100+ year old tortoise, whom when he died, was the last one of his species.  His body was sent to the Natural History Museum in New York City where it was preserved.  He returned to the Galapagos last year-