We hit the shores at 7 AM. This is the home of the former "salt works," although we didn't walk up to the old salt ponds. Instead we walked southerly along the shore. A few more shorebirds, but nothing new until we reached a rocky stretch.
In a pretty area, with lots of chutes, slots and pools, we saw a small colony of Galapagos Fur Seals. They aren't really "seals," they are eared pinnipeds, like the Galapagos Sea Lions. Smaller, and apparently nocturnal, they are smaller and a little chubbier than their cousins, and nap in the shadows and nooks, out of the sun. Some of their sleeping places are improbably small; others are just improbable. Their coats are very different, with thicker or denser fur.
There were Bottlenose Dolphins and breaching manta rays off shore, as well as large flocks of sea birds on schools of fish.
On the way back, with the temperature and humidity climbing, while I was dripping sweat from simply walking slowly, the crew was in a pretty intense soccer game with the crew from another ship. Santiago is one of the few islands where crew can come ashore without a naturalist.
After the walk, the others had a swim in James Bay. I gave a split lip a chance to heal a bit, and watched three Galapagos Hawks circling in the sky over the beach.
Galapagos Fur Seal, unbothered by photographers
James Bay, Santiago Is.
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