Being onboard seems to have inspired our friends to become film directors. Here is the link to the video Stephen produced of our journey from Panama to the Galapagos, writing the accompanying music as we went along.
Again the password is Raya
Thursday 10th March
At the risk of repeating myself, the Galapagos is amazing. As we sat down to lunch at the waters edge, little did we know that we were sitting down to a full on wildlife show. Casually swimming past we saw a 4ft Ray, three turtles, a marine iguana and numerous sea lions, one of which jumped, out of the sea into the hotel pool and then onto a sun lounger.
This however was just the side show, the main event was produced by the incredible birds. The sky was full off hundreds of them – black lava gulls, sleek shearwaters, circling frigate birds, comical pelicans and the stars of the show, synchronised diving blue footed boobies. A group of three or four boobies continually flew a circuit of the bay before right in front of us, at great speed, diving straight down into the sea, popping back up, gullets full, all in exact formation. We hardly knew where to look next, agog at the spectacle. When you did turn away to enjoy your food, you were quickly distracted by the squeal of delight from your fellow dinners or the large splash as a pelican hit the water, just a metre from us.
The Galapagos lies at the meeting of two Pacific currents, the cold Humboldt current and the warm equatorial current, the mixing of the two brings huge amounts of plankton, that in turn attracks the wildlife. The day before we had joined a two tank dive boat for a trip to Seymor Island. We entered the water and right there were a vast shoal of large fish, uncommonly, of many varieties swimming together. The visibility is never brilliant here but it was clear enough to see below us and eventually swimming amongst us numerous six foot long white tipped reef shark, three or four times we saw the bizarre silhouette of groups of hammerhead sharks and a couple of elegant blue spotted eagle rays. The highlight of each dive however were the huge manta rays, some four metres accross, that glided gracefully above our heads.
In contrast the day before we had followed a trail through a cactus forest, in the Galapagos the cactus have evolved to grow tall on a tree like trunks, to avoid being chewed by the iguanas and tortoises on the ground. Driving through the highlands if you don’t look too carefully the scenery often looks almost like the English countryside, but down in the arid zone by the coast we have been no where else even similar.
It is difficult to explain quite how abundant the wildlife is here, just sitting in the cockpit I am surrounded by fishing birds, the continual splashing of jumping fish presumably being chased by something bigger. A turtle frequently pops his head up to say hello and the occasional sealion still attempts to defeat the fender defences on the swim deck. Walking through the charming, friendly town the people share thier public spaces quite happily with the animals. At the small fish market there were more animals than people, Pelicans quietly waiting with a couple of sea lions for their turn to be thrown the guts of the next fish.
Ian has arrived to sail the long leg to Marquesas, but first we have a few more days in the Galapagos we sail to the third island of our stay here, Isabella.