This Close

I’ve been trying to explain to people how close you can get to the critters on the Galapagos, and I realize, it just doesn’t… you can’t explain. You can never get this close. We could’ve gotten closer to these Nazca Boobies (or any of the critters). Only reason we kept…

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Last time at the beach

29-JAN-11: Isla Española It was our last afternoon on the cruise, and we stopped off at a picture perfect white sand beach with crystal blue water lapping along the shoreline. The only thing different from this beach and some resort in the Caribbean was that the little umbrellas and benches…

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Iguanas for Christmas!

There’s a species of marine iguana on Isla Española called a Christmas iguana, because around Christmas, they start to turn green and red for mating season. So we were on Isla Española at the right time of year to see this: But I’m mentally ready for the next destination, and…

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Giant Tortoises

28-JAN-11: Isla Santa Cruz We arrived off Puerto Ayora, the Galapagos’ largest settlement, late last night. Plan for the day: giant tortoises. In the morning, we hopped on a tourist bus (brand=”Buscars” which is a fun play on words if you speak both Spanish and English) and rode up to…

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Red balloons

27-JAN-11: North Seymour Island It’s hot. Really fucking hot. The path is nothing more than big huge rocks. It’s the perfect combination to twist an ankle. The heat really slowed me down: I shot over 800 frames on the 25th. Today, despite all the bird activity, I shot about 300.…

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Dolphins at the prow

27-JAN-11: At sea Over lunch, the Flamingo chugged on to Baltra island to refuel. On the way, someone shouted that Dolphins had joined us at the prow. I raced out with my camera. There were three of them, crisscrossing in front of the prow of the boat. The water was…

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Swimming with penguins

27-JAN-11: Isla Bartolome

Katie and I spent some time before arriving at Bartolome reading the manual for our underwater camera (our early attempts had been dominated by blurry and overly green shots). Apparently, there was a setting for underwater pictures that took out the green and set the ISO high enough to reduce the blur. It worked pretty well, but nothing changed the difficulty of holding the camera still.

This was the best snorkeling of the trip. It wasn’t the clearest water, it wasn’t the biggest variety of fish. It was one thing, and one thing only. It was Galapagos penguins, about a dozen of them, swimming and eating right around me for nearly the entire time I was in the water.

2011-01-27 penguin

They didn’t care that we were around them in the water. They didn’t even care if we touched them. Or more accurately, if they touched me (it’s against the law to t touch the critters, but they can touch you all they want). I had my hand in front of me, and one of the little guys swam right past me, brushing the tips of my fingers as he went.

The only thing I wish is that one of them would’ve paused in front of my camera just for few seconds. I have an insanely awesome shot of a penguin looking right into my camera. Except that the shot was blurry b/c the camera had focused when the penguin was a second further back.

Katie spent the dive sitting on the beach: her foot and ankle hurt too much.

Sea Lion pups without Katie

26-JAN-11: Isla Santiago The next morning, we were bound for Puerto Egas, an abandoned settlement on Isla Santiago. Katie was wiped out from the first two days—the heat plus pregnancy affected her harder than she thought it would—and she took a pass on the morning hike, choosing to sit in…

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“Turn off your cell phone!”

26-JAN-11: Off Isla Bartolome After Sombrero Chino, the Flamingo chugged to Isla Bartolome a few miles north, and laid anchor before sunset (photo below, of Bartolome from the Sun Deck of the Flamingo). For the first time on the trip, we were in range of a cellphone tower somewhere. The…

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