|In the morning we went to the beach on Santa Cruz island where there are many turtle nests. You could see the tracks of the female having gone to and from the sea to make the nest and the tracks of the hatchlings leaving the nests as well as the tracks of predictors...feral pigs, feral cats and hermit crabs. The nests have been marked by researchers for fire ant invasion...yellow was fire ants were there, red was a total invasion of a group of nests. At this time there is no way to irradicate them.
Here we also saw 4 Greater Flamingos eating in the lagoon. There are 27 lagoons in the Galapagos that the flamingos travel between to feed. The numbers are low as reproduction depends on amount of food available and a flamingo will only lay 3 a eggs in her lifetime (about once every 5-6 years). Flamingos and peg ions are the only birds that feed their young milk. Flamingos have short legs as the knee is at their body and the joint seen is really their ankle.
There were some small sharks swimming in the bay. We were entertained by the pelican diving for food!
Deep water snorkeling in the afternoon was fantastic! There were Galápagos penguins on the rocks who joined us for a snorkel. We saw lots ands lots of fish, white tip shark, an octopus, giant sea stars and sea lions.
We returned later to photograph the penguins on the rocks who put on a show for us belly flopping in the water, coming out of the water and waddling up the rocks. Some of the penguins were swimming like ducks, others looked like they were snorkeling!
We saw a total of 16 penguins. These are the second smallest in the world; blue/ fairy penguins of Australia and NZ are the smallest. In 1993 El Niño wiped out 60% of the penguin population. These penguins can be found in North America as the equator crosses through the Island of Isabela and these little guys are found on both sides!
As the panga landed at Bartolome Island we were greater by a sea lion!
This is a volcanic ash island with many volcanoes and lava channels. We climbed the 400 steps to the top of the island for a panoramic view of the surrounding islands!