Helen and Paul World Tour 2005/06 travel blog

Off Isla Rabida a turtle emerges long enough to get something of...

Off Isla Sombrero Chino we managed to see our first Galapagos penguins

The peak of Isla Sombrero China - so called because from a...

What a star!

The boat had sailed slowly throughout the night arriving at Isla Rabida at 5am. After breakfast we had a wet landing onto the north part of the small island. A few sea lions greeted us on the red sands of the beach. A lagoon was visited before walking a path that rises up passing by prickly pear cactus to a viewpoint above the carmine cliffs. We returned to the beach and negotiated the red-hot sand to reach the sea to begin snorkelling close to the rocks and marvel at the fish in the waters.

To get out of the sea when the snorkel was over we had to avoid upsetting the male sea lion that was barking at us to stay away from his ladies.

The panga arrived to take avid snorkellers to the other side of the rocks to see what they could see there. Helen opted out of the second snorkel.

Lunch was served back on the Friendsh while we sailed the short but choppy distance to Isla Sombrero Chino, so called because the island resembles a Chinese hat - it did so with use of imagination.

The panga took us past two Galapagos penguins that were standing on the rocks near to the wet landing onto a tiny beach. More sea lions on this beach, one youthful pup was definitely showing off his moves in the water, he kept looking up at us to make sure we were watching.

We clambered over bombs (rocks thrown out by a volcano eruption) to follow a rocky trail to a vantage point overlooking cliffs. The path lead us over lava flows frozen in motion. Not much wildlife due to the lack of cactus on this island this is because the island is one of the youngest in the Galapagos Archipelago but across the sea looking easterly we could see an older island that had many cacti.

The Galapagos Islands are located on one of the most active volcanic regions on earth: the Nazca Plate. This plate moves eastward towards South America because of the spreading of the sea floor, at a rate of 2.75 inches per year. This plate moves over a stationary area of intense heat or "hot spot" which "builds" the islands. Thus, the oldest part of the archipelago is found at the east of the cluster. The older islands have a lot more cacti growth on them, which is a source of food for wildlife, mainly iguanas.

The group was dropped off by the panga near some rocks from where we snorkelled back to the Friendsh. The two penguins that we saw refused to come in the water to play with us. Paul swam with sea lions again; Helen missed this as she swam away to shallower waters, scared in case a shark was lurking in the deep waters. The swim back to the Friensh was difficult as the current was strong; the crewmembers were on hand to haul us back onto deck. The boat sailed whilst we enjoyed cold beers on the top deck enjoying the sunset over the islands. We arrived at Isla Bartolome before we retired to our cabins.

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