BACHAS BEACH, SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
We opted for an early morning excursion to Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz Island. The beach is so-named because of a mispronunciation of the word "barges" by the locals during the 1950's when WWII barges broke their moorings and ran aground on the beach. The island is also known for one of the largest nesting areas of the Pacific Green Sea Turtle in the Galapagos!
As our Zodiak traveled toward the island the on-board naturalist assigned to our group saw something in the water and grabbed his binoculars. Ever cautious, the Zodiak driver slowed down as a Tiger Shark circling in the water came into view just ahead. If you watch the video below, it will become clear to you that we weren't exactly a subtle group. Still our noise didn't seem to phase the shark or his task at hand.
We silently (hard to believe, I know) watched the Tiger Shark for a while and then proceeded to Santa Cruz Island (Bachas Beach) for a wet landing on the shore. Basically a wet landing is just like it sounds. Prepare for your feet, possibly up to your knees, to get a little wet. To be on the safe side, we put our cameras and other gear into dry bags purchased at REI. Dry bags come in all kinds of sizes and colors to fit your particular needs.
Immediately upon landing we saw Marine Iguanas and Sally Crabs moving about the large lava rocks on the beach. The remnants of a World War II barge operation poked up from the sand which was a strange sight. As we walked along the shore one of the folks in our group noticed three pink flamingos in flight and appearing to be making a landing at a brackish pond just over a hill. It appeared to be a family of three, mom, dad and baby.
We took a little time to watch the flamingos as well as an iguana who was just on the side of the pond nearest us. After a while we meandered back to the beach and some people decided to snorkel while everyone else just enjoyed splashing about in the shallow warm water until it was time for us to go back to the ship to rest and relax before our second excursion of the day to North Seymour Island.
NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND
In the mid-afternoon we departed via Zodiak for the most touted excursion of the Galapagos trip to North Seymour Island. Host to one of the largest colonies of Magnificent Frigate Birds in the Galapagos, North Seymour Island truly is a place where "you see more!"
Although the landing was a dry one it was tougher than some because the seas were choppy. We landed next to a wooden dock with steep about 30 uneven steps to the top. Celebrity stationed crew members on the dock to assist passengers who needed additional assistance off the boat and up the stairs.
As we crested the top of the stairs, Magnificent Frigate Birds with their crimson-colored, puffed out throat sacs flew overhead and landed in nests and bushes. Mating rituals were fascinating as the enormous birds performed a spectacular courtship display. They clatter their bills and wave their heads to and fro, extending their wings and chasing away other birds. The female seemingly looks unimpressed but if he gets her attention, mating begins. Voila!
Continuing along the designated path we came across a bright yellow Land Iguana. He seemed undisturbed by our presence and we were allowed to photograph him to our heart's content. (Check him out in the gallery of photos below.)
Further along the sandy walk we came upon two Blue-Footed Boobys that had been previously courting evidenced by the egg she was keeping warm beneath her. This mating ritual was quite a show as well. The male booby squawked and hollered and she looked uninterested. After much ado, he mounted her gave a little squeak and did his business. About five seconds afterward, he dismounted, danced around a little while she sat back down and stared into space. One would think that any critter so-named would at least have a ten second mating ritual!
ON THE BRIDGE
In the evening we were invited by the Officers to attend a cocktail party on the Bridge at 6:30pm. My hubby is being silly here in this photo! (Notice the beer!)
Michael and I travel mostly because we like learning and experiencing new things, seeing new places and learning about different cultures and food that only comes from getting out and about in the world.