Saturday, April 9, 2022
Our day began early for a dry landing on Sullivan Bay which was located on the southeastern side of Santiago Island.
On our ride in the dinghy we spotted Galápagos penguins which were endangered! Our two dinghy’s watched them on the rocks and then watched as they jumped into the water!
Fernando shared yesterday that this hike would be hard and with the heat and humidity he wasn’t kidding! The walk was filled with pahoehoe, which is lava that looked like pieces of rope! This formed around 100 years ago.
It was a very eerie landscape to walk on. We were all drenched by the end of our hike!
The hardened lava flow!
On our hike we did see some small Mollugo plants that were growing in the lava fissures.
A lava cactus was also spotted!
After our hike we took a dinghy ride back on board and put on our wetsuits and picked up our snorkeling gear for our first opportunity to snorkel! We purchased off of Amazon our own wetsuit so we didn’t need to rent one and we also brought our own mask and snorkel which was very convenient. The ship provided the fins and a mesh bag with our cabin number on it so our equipment was always kept together. It was a very efficient process. Once we were ready we boarded the dinghy again to the area where we would be snorkeling and we snorkeled off the dinghy! We all were excited for our first snorkeling experience in Sullivan Bay. Dave took video and pictures with his GoPro and I had our inexpensive underwater camera. The pictures below were taken with the underwater camera and no flash because it was prohibited. The national park felt that flash photography could impact the animals behavior.
After a delicious lunch we sailed to Rabida Island and had a wet landing from the dinghy to explore the beach and the trails. The beach here was red sand!
On our hike we saw sea lions and lizards!
We observed an American Oystercatcher female watching over her eggs and the male oystercatcher nervously looking on as we hiked by.
A Galápagos land iguana is endemic to the islands. Endemic means that is is only found here.
There were seven different species of lava lizards that resided in the Galápagos Islands. They were called lava lizards because they spend a lot of time moving across lava rocks. Predators included snakes, scopions, Galápagos hawks, herons and sometimes from other lava lizards!
We saw a Galápagos Mockingbird. It is endemic to the islands.
The prickly pear cactus is endemic to the islands and there were six different species that could be found. We also saw Palo Santo trees on Rabida Island. Two species of the tree could be found and this picture shows the species that is endemic and can’t be found anywhere else in the world!
As we walked we observed a Galápagos Dove which is an endemic species. You could recognize it by its red feet and its striking blue eye ring. They ate mainly seeds and insects.
We observed ground finches that were endemic to the Galápagos Islands and ate mainly seeds.
After our hike we got ready to snorkel from the beach.
It was a busy day but we enjoyed the hiking and snorkeling that was filled with land and marine life that was unique to the Galápagos Islands.
This evening our Naturalist guide, Fernando, gave a lecture called the “Enchanted Islands”. He discussed the weather and how the islands are volcanic. He also gave the briefing for tomorrow’s activities.
The visibility was clear so they woke us up to go see the Wolf Volcano on the western side of Isabela Island so we could see the lava flows. Unfortunately we passed by at night. We didn’t get to view it during the daylight.
The captain got us within half a mile before sailing on to our next stop. Almost all of us were up on the top deck watching this phenomenon. Then back to bed to get some sleep before our early start in the morning!