Galapagos Islands 2015 Vacation (INCA Tours)

Day 9

May 14, 2015

Our day in (almost painful) detail

6:00am Wake up call by Richard over ship’s PA system.  We are anchored in James Bay, off the Island of Santiago, near site Puerto Egas 6:30am Breakfast.  Eggs cooked to order, pancakes, fruits, juice, breads.  Meals are never boring on the Yacht Integrity. 7:50am After breakfast we were getting ready to take a panga to shore for a hike when the sky opened up and it poured.  Richard decided we should snorkel now and hike later.  What’s a little rain when you are snorkeling?  So, out of hiking gear and into wetsuits.  Not only was it raining but the wetsuits were out on the fantail to dry… in the rain.  Try putting on a wet wetsuit.  Not fun or easy.  It is amazing how it sticks to your skin when wet. 8:00am While waiting to go snorkeling we are all watching the Nemo II.  They had issues with their anchor and were drifting towards some rocks.  They had to release the anchor so they could move away from the rocks then use their pangas to retrieve the anchor.  When we left to go snorkeling they were still having issues, but everything was fixed by the time we got back. 9:30am We are back from another amazing snorkel.  We saw:  Sea Lions, lots and lots of fish.  We are getting ready for a hike on Santiago Island and our only chance to see fur seals. 9:55am Landed on Santiago Island.  an easy wet landing.  Our first sights on the island were some very interesting erosion edifices.  We stop on the beach to change into more comfortable shoes for the walk.  Before we even leave the beach we see:  Brown Pelicans, Frigatebirds, Lava Lizards, Marine Iguanas. Sally Lightfoot Crabs and Blue-footed Boobies. 10:05am Hiking inland on a trail we saw:  Galapagos Flycatcher, Lava Lizard, Butterfly, Spider, Galapagos Doves and Medium Ground Finches. 10:15am A very nice view of Isabela Island from Santiago. 10:20am the trail brings us back to the ocean at another beach.  More Marine Iguanas, Sally Lightfoot Crabs and Lava Lizard. 10:30am Lava Heron, American Oyster Catchers, Sally Lightfoot Crabs and Marine Iguanas.  We are seeing a few dead Iguanas and live, but not real healthy looking (ribs showing, very thin tails) Marine Iguanas here.  Maybe the El Niña is actually starting to have effect. 10:47am Way off in the distance, our second Galapagos Hawk, circling above a hill. 10:55am Ruddy Turnstones, Semipalmated Plovers, Great Blue Heron and American Oyster Catchers. 11:10am We are walking around the Fur Seal Grotto.  Barbara counted and says there are 16 Fur Seals and 1 Sea Lion.  According to Richard there are usually only a few Fur Seals and we got to see 16.  Fur Seals are nocturnal and they are sleeping during the day.  They stay in the water, floating on the surface, holding their fins above the surface.  They are so interesting to watch we spent about ½ hour at the grotto.  We also saw a couple Yellow- crowned Night-Herons. 11:35am Back on the trail and walking more inland. 11:55am We are looking at what looks like a bunch of junk littering the area we are walking.  It is the leftovers from a salt mine.  Capillary action draws the salt water in through the porous rock, where it dries in the heat and sun and leaves a crust of salt.  The salt has been mined here for many years (but not since the Galapagos Park was created).  This site is called Puerto Egas, after the person who owned the first salt mine here.  Richard points out where the locals dry fish for a traditional Easter soup, Fanesca. 12:10pm We are back on board the Integrity and are underway.  We are headed to Buccaneer Cove, also on Santiago Island, just a tad up the coast.  I spent most the move topside watching the islands glide past.  Got photos of Swallow-tailed Gulls and more Blue- footed Boobies. 12:42pm We have just arrived in Buccaneer Cove and getting ready to drop anchor.  Richard just made the call to lunch so we are about to head to the dining room. 3:00pm We are just about snorkel in Buccaneer Bay. 4:40pm Just back from a snorkel in Buccaneer Bay.  We saw:  White-tipped Reef Sharks, Fur Seals (?) swimming, some new (to us) starfish, Sea Urchins, Moorish Idol Angelfish.  More (in sheer number and number of species) fish.  We got to watch Blue Footed Boobies, up close and personal, diving in the water for some of the fish we were swimming with.  So neat.  They circle around and one of the birds whistles, then they all dive in unison.  This is supposed to confuse the fish that are schooling a couple of feet beneath the surface.  When the Boobies hit the water there is almost no splash but bubbles of air slide out from between the feathers and rapidly move up the water column.  Seen from underwater, you just see a bunch of bubbles trailing the bird down then just bubbles.  Apparently the Boobies turn and swim up pretty much hidden by the bubbles. 5:00pm There was offered a kayak trip in the bay.  It is raining and I don’t think I would be able to see anything once my glasses got wet.  Barbara and I opted to stay aboard  the Integrity and shower and relax a tad.  Actually the kayaking was cancelled and no one went due to the rain. 8:25pm We finished dinner and are underway for North Seymour.  After dinner we sat around and watched Richard’s videos from his GoPro.
"Leave only footprints, take only memories" (...and maybe some pictures)
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PC

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:  richard@naturalist.net 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:  richard@naturalist.net Pics 1 - 15 Pics 20 - 38 Pics 1 - 9 Pics 21 - 41 Pics 1 - 3 Pics 1 - 20 Pics 1 - 20 Pics 21 - 41 Pics 1 - 27 Pics 21 - 39 Pics 1 - 20 Pics 1 - 3 Pics 1 - 8 Pics 28 - 54 Pics 1 - 20 Pics 1 - 17 Pics 1 - 25 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:  richard@naturalist.net 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:  richard@naturalist.net