Getting through these pictures is almost more exhausting than…being there? Than…getting to work Friday morning through the Cubs Victory Parade Crowd?
Or picking up my annual birdseed order from Chicago Audubon yesterday?
Back to the Galapagos.
Below you are looking at potentially the most exciting bird we saw on the entire trip. Why? It wasn’t on our list because it’s endangered, so we were lucky enough to be allowed to look for it. Somehow our group got permission to visit the normally off-limits part of Southern Isabela Island, known as Playa Tortuga Negra, where the Mangrove Finch still exists in declining numbers.
Also on this side of the island, a lovely Galapagos Flycatcher, interesting plants, and the ubiquitous Galapagos Mockingbird.
We went back to the catamaran for an early lunch, then went snorkeling before exploring the lava rocks on the other side of the island. I tried out my underwater camera gear for the first time. I was not able to capture anything very well, but the dive was great fun. We never stayed in for very long, but I always felt like I could stay down forever.
The lava rock on the other side of Isabela, from the landing known as Punta Moreno, was a challenge to negotiate.
I’m likely not keeping all the photographs in order, but the presence of rock has a way of keeping things together. Below, Brown Pelicans on the left and a Blue-Footed Booby on the right.
We had our Galapagos Yellow Warbler for the day (below left) and a Small Ground Finch.
Below, a Striated Heron with a Sally Lightfoot Crab.
There were nesting Brown Pelicans (below), on the Playa Tortuga Negra side.
A closer look at the Sally Lightfoot Crab and a Lava Lizard on the right. You’ll have to click on the pictures to see them better.
Two types of cactus grow in the lava rock, Lava Cactus and Candelabra Cactus. Whichever one is getting started on the left seems to prove the point.
Below, some more species endemic to the islands: the Lava Heron and Galapagos Shearwater.
The Brown Noddy on the left is not an endemic species, but the Flightless Cormorant is. Check out its very blue eye.
Where we saw the Flightless Cormorants nesting it was hard to get detail because of the intense light. So I’m glad I got to see the blue eye on the one above.
Below, the Galapagos Penguin. This was our best chance to see this delightful bird.
Marine Iguanas piled up on top of each other…
Another Galapagos species…the White-Cheeked Pintail. We saw them wherever there was fresh water. This is the only duck species on the islands.
Again, we were pampered daily by the crew…the dinner sculpture on the left, and a sculpture of fresh towels in our cabin on the right.
Here, back home in Chicago, it is November and we are having warm, sunny weather in the 70’s. The irony leading up to the worst presidential election of my lifetime is not lost. I’m borrowing that sentiment from a sermon heard while singing in the choir this morning. Not the irony part, but life seems overloaded with irony lately.
I find I’m reminding myself to appreciate the moment as if there’s a more acute sense that I should not be taking anything for granted.
I’ll be back as soon as I can manage it. I promise. 🙂