Galapagos Islands 2015 Vacation (INCA Tours)

Day 7

May 12, 2015

Our day in (almost) painful detail

6:00am Wake up announcement on the PA system by Richard. 6:30am Breakfast.  Another very nice meal.  Breads and fruits set up buffet style and can order eggs or omelet plus the always available coffee and tea. We took time to study the white board (where the Captain does a daily drawing) and map on the main deck. 7:30am Meet aft and board the panga for a quick ride to Urbina Bay and a wet landing. 7:45am The wet landing was a little on the rough side.  We all made it to shore and no one fell in or slipped.  Very early on the hike we have seen 2 Galapagos Tortoises (is that redundant?) and the skeleton of a Sea Lion and some Small Ground Finches. 7:49am Tortoise foot print. 7:54am We are lined up on the trail, backed up against the brush as much as possible, while we wait for a Tortoise walking on the path to get past us.  The wildlife here has absolute right-of-way.  This is just so neat! 7:58am Rocks uplifted from the bottom of the sea in 1954.  We are also seeing our first Land Iguanas in the wild.  One was kind of hidden in the brush and the other right out in the open.  It is so great that the animals just sit and pose or us. 8:34am Pumice left on the surface after the uplift.  We saw more Small Ground Finches, a Goat’s skull, the remains of a poor, dead Tortoise, some pretty yellow flowers (I have read that the only native bee prefers yellow so most of the endemic flowers are yellow), some Galalpagos Cotton.  On the beach while waiting for the panga we saw some Sea Turtle eggs that look like they had been washed out of a nest by the high tides.  Also on the beach we saw some camera equipment laid out on a blue dufflebag.  The camera and lenses had all covers off and they appeared to be positioned to be in the sun.  To dry off?  Did some poor soul fall in the waves and submerge their camera equipment as they landed?  My worst nightmare! 9:40am The wet landing was a little rough and so was getting back on the panga.  The crew is great and worked so that everyone made it back in without going for an unexpected swim.  Craig dove in at the beach and we (in the panga) rode out past the breakers and picked him up.  He just felt like going for a swim.  We were scheduled to go for a morning snorkel but the water is pretty choppy which kicks up the sediment and that all makes it harder to see anything.  The new plan is to move the ship to a new location and get an afternoon snorkel in. We now have the rest of the morning, until lunch, to relax. 10:30am We are transiting north between Fernandina and Isabela Islands.  Pretty interesting to be sitting topside and watching the islands slide by.  Two Frigatebirds, looks like a female and an immature, were flying overhead and landing on the ship’s masts.  Eventually we are honored by a male Frigatebird joining us.  We got some pretty nice photos as the birds soared in and out of view.  We are joined by the other passengers watching the islands and the Frigatebirds. We also got to watch the feeding dance of some Storm Petrels as they seem to walk on water while plucking tiny critters off the water’s surface. 12:30pm Lunch.  Once again the crew did a great job from the cooking to the serving the food. 1:30pm We are now anchored off of Fernandina Island.  I am topside enjoying the scenery and the solitude as the other passengers are relaxing below somewhere.  Barbara is trying to take a nap in our stateroom, but I am too excited to lay down.  Even if I did lay down I would never be able to shut my eyes.  There is stuff to see.  This is my trip.  The trip I have been thinking about, but not sure if I would ever make, since I was about 13 years old and read about Charles Darwin and evolution and The Galapagos Islands. I am watching a group of Storm Petrels feeding on the surface of the water.  It’s pretty neat the way they seem to dance on the water as they feed.  There are three other ships anchored in this area. 2:00pm I just woke Barbara up.  It is time for us to squeeze into our wetsuits and prepare for another snorkel.  Richard said this is a good site for Marine Iguanas feeding on the bottom, Sea Turtles, Flightless Cormorants and, of course, fish. 3:30pm We are just back from the snorkel.  We talked to friends that had been to the Galapagos a few years back and they said they snorkeled off the back of the ship.  We have not done that.  We all load into the panga and get a ride nearer to shore, hopefully where the fish are, and then jump in.  The ship has to anchor in sand, so as to not damage the coral reefs, and in open sand there isn’t much reason for fish to hang out.  So we get a panga ride to where the fish and other life might be hanging out before we get in the water.  I guess that is why our friends said they were surprised at the lack of fish and we have been amazed at the sheer numbers! I tried the underwater camera again, at least until the battery died.  Lesson learned.  Fresh battery every time.  Great snorkeling!  Great trip! We saw:  Puffer Fish, Sea Turtles, Marine Iguanas, Penguin (I didn’t see it). 4:15pm On board the Integrity I got a few more photos of the little Storm Petrels feeding.  Seeing them in person I now understand why they are so low on the food chain… they are much smaller than I had imagined. 4:45pm We are on the island of Fernandina, an active volcano and the youngest island in the archipelago.  There is only one allowed visitor location and that is where we are.  We have seen hundreds of Marine Iguanas, all pulling out for the night, finding a good resting spot in the masses of bodies and hunkering down.  It was a beautiful walk. 5:40pm We are still on Fernandina.  What we saw:  Sea Lions, Flightless Cormorants, Sea Lions playing in the surf, American Oyster Catchers, Whimbrel (a shorebird), Marine Iguanas, Lava Cactus. 5:55pm We are looking at the reassembled skeleton of Minke Whale laying spread out on the sand. 6:25pm Back in our room.  Fried shrimp was our snack 7:30pm Another nice dinner and then Richard explains what we will be doing tomorrow.  He also show us videos and photos from his GoPro.  That little camera does a great job. 9:00pm Bed time.
"Leave only footprints, take only memories" (...and maybe some pictures)
Click on links (above) to see information about each day


Pics 1 - 3 Video Note: Photos and videos taken by Richard Polatty our tour director, guide and  naturalist, used with permission.  Richard only requested that he be given proper  credit for the material and his email be listed: Pics 61 - 80 Pics 19 - 36 Pics 1 - 18 Pics 1 - 5 Pics 1 - 20 Pics 25 - 48 Pics 49 - 72 Pics 1 - 24 Pics 24 - 46 Pics 1 - 23 Pics 23 - 44 Pics 1 - 22 Pics 1 - 12 Pics 1 - 33 Pics 1 - 3 Pics 31 - 59 Pics 1 - 30 Pics 21 - 40 Pics 41 - 60 Pics 1 - 20 Pics 1 - 12 Video Video Video Video Note: Photos and videos taken by Richard Polatty our tour director, guide and  naturalist, used with permission.  Richard only requested that he be given proper  credit for the material and his email be listed: Note: Photos and videos taken by Richard Polatty our tour director, guide and  naturalist, used with permission.  Richard only requested that he be given proper  credit for the material and his email be listed: