A Guest Blog from Gabe on His Vacation to the Galápagos
During this year’s summer excursion to the Galápagos with my daughter and grandchildren, we met a lot of fun and interesting people, including 11-year old Gabe. Gabe was also visiting the Islands with his family, and like myself, is an avid photographer. Here is a selection of his favorite photos and thoughts from the trip.
My summer vacation in the Galápagos was very exciting. We spent about two-weeks on a boat, and it just happened to be the same one as Martha Stewart! I was glad to become friends with her grandchildren, Jude and Truman, and their friend, Max.
I enjoyed all the activities, especially walking on the Islands and taking pictures of the many landscapes and wild animals. I loved visiting the "Chinese Hat", a tiny island just off the southeastern tip of Santiago Island - it got its name because it has the shape of a down-facing Chinese hat. Most of the animals were easy to photograph. Sometimes the sea lions got a little aggressive, but they were still my favorite animals to visit, along with the green sea turtles.
I took a lot of photographs - these are just some of my favorites. Enjoy.
Before we rode the boat, I spent three days in Quito, Ecuador, with my family. Here is a photo I took of Quito from a big hill. Quito is the highest official capital city in the world.
Here is a mountain in Quito, but what inspired me to take the photo was all the cloud cover – it is just so pretty.
This is a female great frigatebird sitting on its nest. The female is larger than the adult male and has a white throat and breast.
Here is a male frigatebird puffing out his throat pouch to attract a female flying overhead. When a female sees one she likes, she lands beside him.
This is a blue-footed boobie sitting on its eggs. These birds are ground nesters and keep their young warm with their bodies and webbed feet.
When boobie chicks hatch, both parents feed and care for them. At first, it looked like this boobie was feeding its chick, but when I looked closer, it was actually grooming it.
Here is a baby red-footed boobie. These birds nest in trees, and after chicks hatch, it may take up to three-months before they can fly.
I saw many Galapagos giant tortoises. Here is one lying down, covered in mud to keep cool. The Galápagos giant tortoise is the largest living species of tortoise.
When the sun goes down in the Galapagos, these wild tortoises love to rest in the muddy ponds, with just their shells sticking out of the water. They can sleep up to 16-hours a day.
Here is a tortoise coming out of the muddy water. Most of their traveling is done in the early morning or the late afternoon when it is a bit cooler.
This giant tortoise is in a patch of dried grass. Giant tortoises continue to grow until they are about 50-years old, and can weigh up to 500-pounds when full grown.
This photo was funny – Lucas the donkey started munching on Martha’s camera strap, so the guide had to quickly trade the strap for a piece of sugar cane.
While we were horseback riding, I saw this strange colored, white bush. I only saw one, and I thought it was neat.
This is one of the islands we visited. I took this photo from our boat called the Evolution, a 192-foot cruise ship and expedition vessel.
I also took this photo of a rock formation in the distance.
These are sea lions sunbathing on the rocks. When I took this photo, I zoomed in on them with my camera – they are not really that close.
And, here is a Galapagos land iguana sunning himself on a rock. I was able to get close to it – he is about two-feet long.
This is an iguana eating a chunk of prickly pear cactus. It just rolls it up and eats it all – the fruit, flowers, pads, and even the spines.
Here is a patch of red colored plants on the shore. It’s called Sesuvium edmonstonei, which is endemic to the Galapagos.
This is a Galapagos Sesuvium plant flower. I got this closeup during one of our mountain hikes, squatting right next to it.
This photo is of the water hitting a rock formation. I took it from above – a part of a rock was jutting out from the land.
This is a baby sea lion as it was about to enter the water.
And here is a juvenile sea lion on the beach.
This is my favorite picture from the trip. A baby sea lion looking at me. I was able to get really close to take it.
This is the Galapagos green turtle in the water. It kept going under and it took me about 30-minutes to get a photo of his head popping out. They are very strong swimmers.
This is a bright-colored sally lightfoot crab on a rock. These crabs are coastal scavengers and help to keep the shore clean by eating organic debris and ticks off marine iguanas.
This is a yellow warbler bird. It is common throughout the Galapagos Islands, especially in mangroves or manzanillo trees. I was about 10-feet away when I took this photo. It is mostly yellow in color and the male has reddish streaks on his chest.
This is another yellow warbler bird enjoying the sun.