Galapagos - Day four

A very early start today - 0530 wake up for me, getting to the island of Santa Fe for 8am.  Due to the island having little shade, Mauricio was keen to have this trip complete before the sun got too high (and thus hot) in the sky.  The slightly burned back of my legs thanked him profusely.

After a wet landing, the beach was covered in sleeping or dozing sea lions.  lines and lines of them, sometimes one on its own, sometimes five or six laying on each other.  They look so cuddly, but the idea of giving them a hug is quickly dispelled after one growls, barks, or snots at you.  My god are they snotty; and when they sneeze, it goes a long way!

We saw our second Galapagos Hawk, initially sitting near the path, and later on, flying around with a lot of other birds.  The hawk is considered the king of the islands; the pinnacle of the feed chain.  There are only 300 of them throughout all the islands.  Unlike other hawks I've seen, they only kill on the ground - no swooping on other flying birds and killing them midflight.  Good to see there's still room for improvement ;)

The island is also home to land iguanas.  These differ from marine iguanas in the shape of their heads, the tails and also colouring.  Being sand coloured, spotting them amongst lots of sand can be hard.  A couple had obviously been informed of our impending arrival and positioned themselves in the middle of our path.  As they don't need to propel through the water, their tails, rather than being a triangular shape, like their marine buddies, they've evolved round ones.

Cactuses here have also evolved differently to the others we've seen.  The land iguanas used to like chewing on the them, so they've developed more like trees - thick bark around the trunk with the green segments much higher up, out of reach.  One cactus had broken, allowing us to see the inside, which was formed like a car's filter, enabling it to store enough water to survive dry periods.

The beach of the collection also happened to be a resting area of white tip reef sharks.  These grow up to around 1.5 metres, and while their usual food of choice is sea lions, as it wasn't dinner time (they're nocturnal feeders) we saw a number of sealions frolicking in the waters around them.  The waters were too murky to get any pictures unfortunately.

We returned to the boat to commence the trip to the afternoon's destination.  Lunch was great, and I ate lots of jelly. Yum.

Unfortunately, right at the time we were about to depart to the island, my stomach played silly buggers, and I had to stay on the ship.  I used the opportunity to start writing up my diary of the trip, the fruits of which you're reading now.

During dinner, Mauricio said our last day would be a very early start: 0530, and we'd be on the last island for 6am.  Ouch.

After dinner we watched another 'recommended' film.  After an hour of hearing how Jesus is the saviour and how believing in him can cure aids, stop cancer in its tracks, and also save what are clearly screwed up marriages, I returned to the cabin to sleep.