|06 Feb 02 - Afternoon
Arrived about 2:00 PM. En route from South Plaza, we saw 8-10 Bottlenose Dolphins, including one that surfed the bow wave for more than ten minutes. Also a small flock of Red-necked Phalaropes.
On arrival at Northeast Bay, Santa Fe Island, we snorkeled one cove northeast of the Samba. Crystal clear water and bewildering numbers and varieties of fish. The list includes Green Sea Turtles, two White Tip Sharks, Sting Rays and a grazing Marine Iguana. Amazing adaptations to allow an iguana to dive, cling to the rocks to get at the rock-fast algae, and subsist on the stuff.
After snorkeling, we made a wet landing at a white sand beach. As we approached, a Galapagos Hawk took an immature Marine Iguana not fifty feet away. My hasty photo isn't great but you can tell what's going on.
We hiked through a Palos Santos thicket, and then steeply up an escarpment to a loop trail on top of the cliff. A good selection of birds, including Galapagos Dove and our first Medium Ground Finch, and a lot of Land Iguanas, with dramatically different colors than those on South Plaza Island. The escarpment and its base, and along the cliff top there were very tall cactus trees, Opuntia, with very large trunks. The view from the cliff top, looking down on the brilliant blue ocean in the late afternoon sun, was very good. Perhaps there has been more rain on Santa Fe; it's definitely greener than North Seymour or South Plaza.
We were close to some interesting birds coming back, but the light was too low for photography. I definitely need ASA 400 film next trip.
In the early evening, in the late twilight, while we were lounging on the upper deck of the Samba, a Barn Owl ghosted overhead. An excellent day.
Galapagos Hawk takes an immature Marine Iguana
Northeast Bay, Santa Fe Island
Large Cactus Trees on scarp slope
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