Galapagos - Day three

The overnight journey was a nightmare! The seas were alive, tossing and turning the boat everywhere.  Despite a very broken night of sleep, the 630am wake up call wasn't too bad.

The first trip of the morning was to wander around the island.  It was a dry landing onto a crab, sea lion and excrement covered dock.  A large (nursing) female was blocking our way, so Mauricio did the honours and waved his bag until she moved onto the rocks.

Espanola has one of the largest varieties of wildlife of any of the islands, and is home to huge colonies of red/black marina iguanas.  In order to feed on plankton in the ocean, these iguanas sunbathe on rocks until their internal body temperature is double that of humans (~74c).  Once hot enough, they plunge into the ocean, for up to an hour, to feed.  While in the water, they lose 80% of their heat (dropping to ~15c).

Blocking the path on numerous occasions were blue footed boobies (hence my Facebook status of 'I love boobies', you bunch of perves!).  They're sizable birds, standing around 40cm high, with a 4ft wingspan.  They (unsurprisingly) get their name from their bright blue feet.  The male and females look similar, though you can tell by the call (females make a whistling sound) and by the size of the pupils which is which.

Espanola is also the only island in the world where albatross touch land - they return every two years to nest.  The rest of the time they're flying the world, keeping ships company for long distances and resting on natural rafts in the ocean.  In a single year, there's normally around 20,000 birds on the island.  Some quick math means there's only around 40k left worldwide.  Modern fishing methods have had quite an impact on the numbers.  Luckily, while passing a next, one of them displayed their huge wingspan - 3 meters!

Continuing wandering around the cliffs we came to an area where the albatross use to take off.  When there's not enough space, or thermals for them to take off from land, they walk over to the cliff and jump off.  As if on command, two sauntered over and leaped. Awesome!

On the other side of the island to where we landed, there's a natural blow-hole.  A blow-hole is a natural fissure in the rock where water is pushed at very high pressure.  This results in an explosion of water, in this case up to 35 metres high.

Having finished on the island, we had another snorkeling trip.  While not as exciting as our first, I caught a glimpse of a huge eagle ray in front of me, also spotted a couple of smaller rays (not sure which type) burying themselves in the sand.

We returned to the boat for lunch, and the afternoon was spent navigating over to Santa Fe.  The navigating took the entire afternoon, so the sun was enjoyed, books were read, and people slept.  I also had some caffeine; I didn't sleep.  Mid afternoon there was a shout from the bridge - a school of dolphins had come to play.  I ran to the front of the boat to be treated to the sight of five or six dolphins playing around.  Some were jumping in and out of the water, others were swimming what seemed like only centimetres from the front of the boat.  Reagan got some great pictures!  At this point I decided to keep my camera with me at all times - I don't want to miss another opportunity like that.

It seems they've finally got the idea (despite writing it explicitly on the forms) that I can't eat dairy.  And I've finally got the ideal that I do like fish. Win.

After dinner, we watched a Dolf Lundgren film - Direct Contact.  It was so bad it was funny.  How on earth did he ever become an actor?

Bed called shortly after.  I find it amusing that everyone seems to be on my usual sleep schedule - early starts, and in bed by 9pm.