Day 14 - Fri June 1, 2007 – Espanola – Bob: 269, Kathy: 383

After breakfast, we were taken by pango boat (the Zodiac) to a beautiful sandy beach. There were lots of sea lions and other wildlife and the weather was perfect.

We even saw two sea lions fighting, which was unusual to see.

It never ceases to amaze me how the animals are not afraid of you.

Unfortunately, more and more boats came and soon there were more people on the beach than sea lions. Still, we took a lot of photos. There were lots of young sea lion pups breast feeding from their mothers. At the center of the pile was a huge male that occasionally barked his dominance of his territory.

Next, we went back to the Flamingo and got our swimming gear on for more snorkeling. This was deep-water snorkeling, and although it was beautiful, there were no sea turtles or fun schools of fish. There were, however, playful sea lions swimming around, playing with all the snorkelers.

After lunch, we were taken to another beach area where there was beautiful scenery. It was so beautiful that we took lots of pictures.

Even the iguanas seemed to be enjoying the scenery.

When I first met Kathy, she had a pet iguana named “Iggy,” so she was right at home.

The waves rolled in from the sea and made huge roaring crashes near the shore.

There were lots of animals. When we got off the boat, there were more sally lightfoot crabs, sea lions, lava lizards,

and “Christmas Iguanas” that are named because of their unusual red and green colors.

We walked inland where we saw lots of birds, especially the blue-footed boobies.

We saw several pairs of them doing the mating rituals.

It was very odd to see. They would lift each foot off the ground, one by one,

then pick up a twig with their beak and lift it slowly to the sky with as much reverence as a priest holding up the cup of Christ. Then they would shake their head and display their wings folded forward, making a strange “W” shape, and also they'd make funny noises.

We saw some blow holes which is basically an underwater shelf with a hole in the top. When a big wave came to shore, it would roll into the cave. When there was nowhere else for the water to go, it would come blasting out of the little hole twenty feet into the air. It was quite spectacular.

Next, we saw dozens of albatrosses.

They are apparently the biggest bird in the Galapagos. We were told that albatrosses mate for life, and they always keep the same partner. Before this trip, I heard that they normally spend most of their time in the air flying, and they can even sleep while they're flying.

We saw some of them taking off by jumping off the cliff. This was similar to how a jet takes off from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Others were sitting on the ground incubating their eggs.

We also watched their strange mating ritual too, where they would tip their heads from side to side

then smack their beaks together in rapid succession, like some kind of sword fight. It was very odd.

We stayed on the island a long time just watching the strange birds.

At night, one of the guides, Paul, asked for my help. He knew I had brought my laptop and a flash card reader. So he asked me to help him copy a bunch of photos from his digital camera flash card onto his USB jump drive. Piece of cake.