|15 Feb Afternoon
We snorkeled the wall of a collapsed caldera, in cool to cold water. I cavorted with Galapagos Sea Lions and Green Sea Turtles, and watched Flightless Cormorants and Galapagos Penguins diving for fish. I also saw Golden Rays, Sting Rays and a fairly large octopus, as well as the usual reef fish. "Schools" of fish here are more like "state universities." They are huge, hundreds of meters across in some cases, packed densely and hovering what I suppose is below the dive depth of visibility line of the Boobies and Pelicans. Immense numbers of fish.
I explored a large cave, where I did a long, clumsy water ballet with a very graceful young sea lion, close enough to see her eye lashes and to blow bubbles back at her when she blew bubbles at me. We circled each other, tumbled and looped, until I was completely out of air. I watched a second sea lion play with a medium-sized school of fish, working it into a ball by swimming around it and then swimming through it and blowing bubbles up through it. The sea lion wasn't eating, although it seemed like it could have; just playing.
For a wonder, all of my equipment worked well, and I could swim slowly after Green Sea Turtles without disturbing them, and watch Marine Iguanas gnaw algae off of the bottom rocks. Hammerhead and White-tipped Reef Sharks lurked in the deeper waters, and in places the water was very deep indeed. The eye could follow some of the cliff walls down into an indefinite darkness.
The currents were fairly strong; if you stopped kicking you didn't stop moving, and particularly along the steep-walled, deep cliffs the upwelling of cold, Humboldt Current water was quite noticeable. This is the northwesterly corner of Isabela Island, and it's battered by that big, powerful current.
A Galapagos Sea Lion pup plays with mom
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