|09 Feb 02
We snorkeled along a small islet with lava caves and very steep underwater cliffs. Good, but the water wasn't as clear as the first snorkel at Santa Fe Island. We did see Galapagos Sea Lions a couple of times, and I got a decent underwater photo of one of them. I used my wet suit and was much more comfortable.Very large schools of fish, the size measured in acres. When the fish got too close to the surface, birds would strike from above. I watched a Blue-footed Booby go at least five feet underwater like a knife.
Galapagos Sea Lions will dance with you, swimming around you and with you underwater. They will blow bubbles in your face, and the small pups, if you ignore them for too long, will goose you on the butt. Nancy and I weren't the only ones who found the younger sea lions utterly charming.
After the snorkel, we motored over to the long white beach that stretches much of the way around Gardner Bay. There were perhaps 50 or so people from other ships on the beach as well. Not everyone was scrupulous about leaving the animals alone, particularly the sea lions, which were grouped in harems the length of the beach. For the most part, the sea lions were unfazed by the people around them, but some fools had to try for photos of themselves lying down beside the sea lions. Idiots.
The Sally Lightfoot Crabs at the far end of the Gardner Bay beach were particularly large, patient and photogenic. The adult crabs are a striking orange, red and blue, and are everywhere you turn in the Galapagos. They must be quick because they sure aren't camouflaged. Their eyes stick up on stalks, blue drops of eyeball on orange golf tees.
Important lesson for pale skinned snorkelers: cover your back with a t-shirt. I'm sun-burned almost to the point of blisters...
Nancy dancing with a young sea lion
Gardner Bay, Espanola Is.
(Photo by Hugh Rose)
Copyright © 2002 Jim & Nancy DeWitt
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