1 A photo I took of Blue-footed Boobies when we were on a Panga. We were able to see several different species of Boobies on the Islands we visited. It is fun to watch them fish. Actually amazing as they seem to make themselves go faster right before hitting the water.
2 This is a map of the Galapagos Islands that we looked at aboard the yacht with our naturalist guides each night in order to plan the next day's events. The red drawn lines show the way our boat traveled to each island.
3 A Galapagos Penguin standing in the sun. There are not many left on this planet and the only place they live are on a few of the islands in the Galapagos.
4 I cannot believe I was able to get this close to the Penguin. My camera is just an underwater point and shoot with no telephoto lens. That means to photograph something, my camera and I had to be as close or sometimes even closer than it looks to what I was photographing.
5 Their feet are amazing and you can tell their age by the coloration. They also have to take care to not let the skin of their feet get sun burned! The pattern of the small black dots you see on the belly of the penguin is unique like your finger print is. Other penguins can have the same number of spots, but not in the same exact arrangement.
6 This is a Great Blue Heron. It is fishing in the clear water. There is also a sea lion fishing there. It was amazing to get close to the heron as the one that lives on our brook back home will fly away if he sees you.
7 When he stands waiting he does not move a muscle or blink. I would not like to be in a staring contest with a Great Blue Heron.
8 A Hermit Land Crab. He was very small and cute and quickly crawled away and hid between rocks. His behavior was not like the other animals that did not seem to care at all that we were there.
9 Baby Sea Lion sleeping with an Ice Plant as his pillow.
10 Lava Lizard on black sand. They are small and fast. Instead of white sand made from the white coral this sand is black and comes from the black lava.
11 Pelicans and Blue-footed Boobies drying after fishing
12 The Galapagos Thorn Bush. Here it is green. You see them dead and dried in a lot of places. I really like all the thorny and spiky plants on all the islands we visited.
13 Here is a close up of the Galapagos Thorn Bush's thorns. Usually the thorns I see on the plants in the country I live are not green. These thorns were as long as 3 inches and green. I wonder If they grow on every Island?
14 It was interesting to see all the cactus and dry climate and then see it surrounded by all the water.
15 Galapagos Fur Seal on James Island. Fur seals are very different
from the Galapagos Sea Lions I had been seeing everywhere. The fur seals were almost hunted into extinction for their very thick and warm fur. You can find them sleeping in shady spots during the day, especially in rock crevices. The fur seals easily get too hot while the sea lions do not.
16 Yawn! Sorry we woke you up.
17 A Marine Iguana on James Island. This spot is near a famous place called “Darwin’s Toilet”. The white on top of this iguana's head and the first few spines is actually old skin that is shedding. At first I thought it was dried sea salt.
18 Marine Iguana #44. This Iguana was marked by the research center after a bad El Nino to keep track of the population. This iguana is shedding skin. The lighter patches will be coming off and you can already see old skin that is lifting off. Iguanas shed skin in random patches on their body. They even shed their old skin from the eyelids and the spine spikes. The spike shed lifts off like a finger of a glove would from your hand.
Both Marine and Land Iguanas do not shed all at once like snakes do.
19 Iguana #44 swimming off to feed on a specific kind of algae it eats.
20 Green Sea Turtle swimming and feeding off of James Island. He has a thin layer of marine algae attached to him just like the turtle I swam with for over 15-minutes and took an underwater video of while snorkeling at Post Office Bay beach on Floreana Island. You can see my video below.
21 Sally Light Foot Crab. I read somewhere that they got their name because they can run so fast they can walk on water, but some say it was the name of a Caribbean dancer the sailers liked a long time ago.
22 Here I am with a Sally Light Foot Crab shed resting on my hat. A crab's shed looks just like a dead crab but it is usually not torn
apart and it does not smell bad.
23 This is the shed of a Sally Light Foot Crab that Jude found. This is the under side, which is the abdomen. This shape tells us it is from a male crab. A female's would be wider and usually more rounded.
24 Baby Galapagos Sea Lion. I loved being so close to them and watching them play, eat, sleep, make noises and move around. Once we saw sharks swimming back and forth and then realized they were waiting for baby sea lions.
25 Galapagos Ground Finch on white coral sand. There is a Large, Medium and a Small Ground Finch. There are at least 14 very different finches and they all have evolved to get and eat food differently. On one Island a finch group even figured out to drink blood of a larger bird when there is no water and they are called Vampire Finches.
26 Swallow-tailed Gull. On the Galapagos, these gulls have evolved to fly and hunt squid at night. Notice their large eyes with the bright red eye lids. There is a lot of white bird poop all over the island, but you can easily tell which is theirs as it has a black splotch in it from the squid’s ink!
27 Swallow-tailed Gulls and chick. They do not seem to make a traditional nest. The first family I saw even had their chick right on the edge of a cliff that people walked right next to and I was scared the baby was going to jump off.
28 Galapagos Mockingbird. These became one of my favorite birds on the islands. They were very interesting to watch. At the Charles Darwin Center we learned that these birds (not the famous finches) were the first to spark Darwin’s historic thoughts. After he left the Islands he noticed the mockingbirds he had collected from the islands had different features. He had expected they would be the same as the islands were so close together.
29 You can see the Great Frigatebird with its fuzzy white baby in the center front of the photo. There are two types of Frigates. The other is the Magnificent Frigatebird. The Great Frigatebird has a patch of feathers that shine greenish in the sunlight. They are known as the Pirates of the Sea.
30 Adult Red-footed Booby perched in mangrove tree. Notice the white nails coming out from the red webbed foot.
31 Red Footed Boobies are different from other Boobies. They build nests off the ground which means they have learned how to build nests and also break twigs to have building material. Unfortunately Frigate Birds also build nests but just steal the twigs from Red Footed Boobies and other Frigate Birds.
32 We snorkeled almost every day. Jude and Truman loved it and are expert swimmers. Here, Martha is helping Truman in to snorkel. Captain Victor is on the right. He was one of the nicest people I have ever met and he was my snorkel buddy. He is from Ecuador and has driven all over the world as a ship captain.
33 Here is Jude getting ready to go. You need a wetsuit to help you keep warm. It also helps you to float.
34 There goes Jude and her Mommy, Alexis!
35 My mom is still on the Panga and took this of me. I am looking at a giant Hammer Head Shark. Just kidding. But there are a lot of them and a lot of other shark species. Luckily it is safe to swim with them. Hammer heads like to eat squid so just try not to look squid-ish.
36 One day I went to the bridge to visit Captain Victor. He took these photos of me showing the two ways of steering the yacht. One way is the traditional way with the wheel and looking out the window or at a computer screen with a current map on it to look at when it is dark or if there is fog.
37 The second way he showed me was with a yellow box with two buttons that you press to steer the boat. Then to tell if you are pressing the correct direction, you look at the blue gauge that you can see hanging down right above the window near the center of the bridge.
38 Medium Ground Finch - Charles Darwin Research Station, Director’s office balcony. Santa Cruz Island. I really loved all the cute finches on all the Islands!
39 I love this photo so much. It was not easy to photograph this little finch.
40 Natural Lava Tunnel on Santa Cruz Island. Jude, Truman and I made it all the way to the end of this big long lava tunnel. Here is the view looking back at the large entrance, you have to crawl in mud at the end to get out. We also had to carry flashlights. It was fun! (The video below is of a very small lava tunnel on a different island)
41 Another photo of me that my mom took. This time right after swimming with the Green Sea Turtle. He is still there. Over to the left. If this were a video you would see his head poke out for air soon. I was so excited I was shaking. What a special
place. I hope it stays this way. But... We will all have to help!