It appears that you are currently using Ad Blocking software. What are the consequences? Click here to learn more.
Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Entries Tagged as 'Galapagos'

Advertisment


Española (Hood) Island

August 27th, 2012 · 2 Comments

On August 4 I visited the last of the nine islands and islets that I went to in the Galapagos Archipelago when our yacht, the Xavier III, took us to Española, also known as Hood Island. Almost all of the Galapagos Islands have two or even more names.

Española is about 3.5 million years old and is the oldest of the Galapagos Islands. By no coincidence it is also the furthest south. Volcanos created each of these islands, which lie at the very northern edge of the Nazca Plate. This tectonic plate is moving while the hotspot that produces the volcano remains stationary.

Since this is the oldest of the the Galapagos Islands, I had expected to find the lava there well covered by soil. Hardly the case, the loop trail that took was the roughest of all of the islands. It was certainly worth the effort for all the wild beauty we saw.

But when we arrived at the trailhead after landing on the beach we had to wait. Sea Lions and Marine Iguanas had arrived there first and weren’t about to move just to get out of the way of humans.

Morris Garcia, the Park Ranger Who Guided Our Tour, Waits for Wildlife (Panasonic DMC-TS3 at 5mm, f/3.3, 1/1300, ISO 400)

Morris Garcia, the Park Ranger Who Guided Our Tour, Waits for Wildlife (Panasonic DMC-TS3 at 5mm, f/3.3, 1/1300, ISO 400)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

The Marine Iguanas seem to be rather sociable.

We Found this Pile of Marine Iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) on a Lava Rock Waiting Along the Trail (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 160mm, f/8, 1/350, ISO 1600)

We Found this Pile of Marine Iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) on a Lava Rock Waiting Along the Trail (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 160mm, f/8, 1/350, ISO 1600)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Galapagos

Floreana (Charles) Island and Champion Islet

August 26th, 2012 · 4 Comments

Our yacht, the Xavier III, took our tour group to the one island in the Galapagos that I had already read a lot about before going there on August 3. This island, called in Spanish as Floreana and in English as Charles, still offered me lots of surprises.

Floreana became world famous in the 1930s when three groups of Europeans decided to settle there. Most of these settlers were decidedly strange and at least five of them were soon dead under suspicious circumstances. Only Margret Wittmer remained, and it was primarily her book Floreana: A Woman’s Pilgrimage to the Galapagos that I had made sure to read before stepping on the island. You can read a succinct account of of this fascinating story “Unsolved Murder Mystery: The Galapagos Affair.”

While this story was a backdrop to our visit to Floreana, we were, of course, much more interested in the island’s wildlife than in its sordid history.

In the morning seeing more Galapagos Penguins absolutely delighted me. This time I got good shots of them in the water, where they are at home.

A Galapagos Penguin (Speniscus mendiculus) Grooms Itself Before Going for a Swim in the South Pacific Ocean (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800)

A Galapagos Penguin (Speniscus mendiculus) Grooms Itself Before Going for a Swim in the South Pacific Ocean (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge
A Galapagos Penguin (Speniscus mendiculus) Swims (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO 800)

A Galapagos Penguin (Speniscus mendiculus) Swims (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Galapagos

Rabida (Jervis) Island and Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island

August 25th, 2012 · 2 Comments

Our fifth day exploring the Galapagos Islands started with a dinghy ride to the red beach of Rabida Island, where we made a wet landing.

As we approached this little unpopulated island we saw more members of a species of birds that most everyone loves, the Blue-footed Booby. This one was on the cliff just at the edge of the ocean spray.

A Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) Looks out over the South Pacific Ocean (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO 400)

A Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) Looks out over the South Pacific Ocean (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO 400)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Galapagos

Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island

August 24th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Santa Cruz is the second largest of the Galapagos Islands and the largest one that I visited in July and August on my tour there. More than half of the residents of all the Galapagos Islands live in the town of Puerto Ayora, where we stopped for shopping, lunch, and an Internet connection.

But first we visited the Charles Darwin Research Station, which for more than half a century has been the leading organization for research on the islands. They do more than anyone else to save the Galapagos giant tortoises found only in the Galapagos that are the islands’ most famous residents.

They are the largest living species of tortoise and one of the heaviest living reptiles. They can weigh up to about 900 pounds and can grow to be up to about 6 feet long. In the wild they can live for more than 100 years, and in captivity one individual lived at least 170 years.

The giant tortoises, like the first one below, strongly reminded me of E.T. in Stephen Spielberg’s wonderful movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. That’s probably because Spielberg did such a good job, modeling E.T. on one of these strange-looking yet friendly giants.

Galapagos (Giant) Tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus) Like This One Inspired E.T. (Panasonic DMC-TS3 at 6mm, f/3.5, 1/400, ISO 400)

Galapagos (Giant) Tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus) Like This One Inspired E.T. (Panasonic DMC-TS3 at 6mm, f/3.5, 1/400, ISO 400)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Galapagos

Santiago (James) and Bartolome (Bartholomew) Islands

August 23rd, 2012 · 2 Comments

Of all the birds in the Galapagos the one that I most wanted to see was the Galapagos Penguin. No other species of penguin live so far north of Antarctica. But I really didn’t expect to see any penguins in the Galapagos, because it is an endangered species with only about 1,500 individuals remaining.

We saw our penguins when we took a dinghy ride along Santiago Island before breakfast. But the light level was too low for good photos. We did get quite a thrill when a Sea Lion jumped into the dinghy right next to me for a few seconds.

Then, in the afternoon while most of the other tour members went snorkeling off Bartolome Island, I rode into the beach on a dinghy with our guide Morris. En route to the beach I got my best penguins shots.

A Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) Rests on Bartolome Island (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 180mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800)

A Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) Rests on Bartolome Island (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 180mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Galapagos

North Seymour Island and Islote Mosquera

August 22nd, 2012 · 1 Comment

Our second day in the Galapagos got off to a strong start and stayed that way. Just as the sun came up I looked out of my cabin on the yacht and saw first light hitting this islet.

Daphne Minor in the Galapagos Archipelago at First Light (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 210mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 800)

Daphne Minor in the Galapagos Archipelago at First Light (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 210mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Galapagos

Arriving in the Galapagos: San Cristobal (Chatham) Island

August 20th, 2012 · 2 Comments

We flew 835 miles from Quito via Guayaquil to the airport on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos on the morning of July 29. All flights to the Galapagos originate in Ecuador, and flying is the only practical way to get to the islands, since no ships have scheduled service there. Like Quito, the Galapagos are right on the equator, but the islands are way out in the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles west of mainland South America.

We went straight from the airport to the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Galapagos Province. Our ship was waiting for us in the harbor there. Also waiting was this young Galapagos Sea Lion occupying a bench that it was not about to share with Joanna. But this gave us our first tangible proof how unafraid the wildlife of the Galapagos is of us.

Sorry, but this Bench is Occupied by a Young Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) (Canon 50D with 18-200mm lens at 28mm, f/8, 1/800, ISO 800)

Sorry, but this Bench is Occupied by a Young Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) (Canon 50D with 18-200mm lens at 28mm, f/8, 1/800, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

The Galapagos Islands have been a part of Ecuador since 1832 when the then newly independent country annexed them. Tomas de Berlanga, the bishop of Panama, had discovered the islands in 1535, when he was traveling from Panama to Peru and a storm blew his ship off course. The other key date in the history of the Galapagos was 1835 when Charles Darwin explored the islands as a young naturalist aboard the HMS Beagle. I had read his journal of The Voyage of the Beagle earlier and re-read Chapter XVII, “Galapagos Archipelago,” on my iPad aboard the ship that took me around the islands. The Galapagos played a crucial role in Darwin’s much later masterpiece, On the Origin of Species.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Galapagos