|10 Feb 02
Started the day at 6:00 AM with a pre-breakfast circumnavigation of Champion Islet off Floreana Island. The goal was the Floreana (Hood) Mockingbird, and we saw several. The water was a little rough, and the light was poor, so there weren't many photos.
After breakfast, we did a wet landing on a green sand beach at Punta Cormorant to visit the lagoons in muggy heat. Some of the best trails we've seen in the Galapagos. At the lagoons we saw Greater Flamingos and White-cheeked Pintail ducks. Also Smooth-billed Anis, an introduced species but so far relatively benign.
At a second viewpoint, we could see back to the Flamingo rookery. The nests are mud piles extending up above the surface of the water. There were juveniles there, but much too far away to photograph. As the nearby flamingos worked through the water, they left looping lines in the muddy bottom, in a kind of cursive script.
From there we climbed over a low saddle to a pure, white powder sand beach, the consistency of flour. There were Green Sea Turtle tracks coming down from above tide line, and turtle nests, which look like bomb craters. It's safe to think of nesting sea turtles as a geological force. There were perhaps a dozen turtles in the shallows of the small bay, dark circles visible from the shore.
Still before breakfast, we re-boarded the Samba and motored to Devil's Crown, a drowned volcano summit. Very steep sides on the outside, shallower and with many rocks on the inside. Clear water, thousands of fish and powerful currents. It's clearly a mixing zone; as you swam along you could feel warmer and colder water currents against your skin, quite a dramatic temperature difference. Good views of Hammerhead Sharks, White-tipped Reef Sharks, Galapagos Sharks and Manta and Sting Rays.
And that was just in the morning...
Greater Flamingo, Punta Cormorant
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