Day 11 - Tue May 29, 2007 – Fernadina Island, Isabela Island – Bob: 226, Kathy: 319

Today was a blast. Kathy and I took more than 500 photos of animals and scenery.

We got up, dressed and ate breakfast. Then we got on the Zodiac with everyone else and headed to Fernadina Island.

The tide was low, so we got off the boat onto slippery rocks with hundreds, maybe thousands, of crabs watching and skittering about.

The crabs didn't seem to bother the sea lions one bit.

We walked past the rocks until we reached the shore. The shore was covered with hundreds, maybe thousands, of Marine Iguanas. They were everywhere, even stacked on top one another. Like all the other animals here, they are not afraid of people.

Nearly, a sea lion lazily floated on his back, playing like a child taking a bath.

We walked inland and saw some old whale bones.

Then we continued to walk in a path where we saw other wildlife, such as lava lizards

and the flightless cormorants

with their strange blue eyes,

and more sea lions. In one bay, we could see a few sea turtles swimming around.

This is probably my favorite animal on the planet. I love turtles, and sea turtles are my favorite kind of turtle. We spent a long time walking around the island, looking at all the wildlife.

Back on the boat, we could see more sea turtles. We also saw penguins. It seems strange to see penguins on the equator, but there they were.

We also saw a few blue footed boobies, which is a very odd looking bird with blue feet.

There were more flightless cormorants, using the sun to dry their wings.

The strange thing about blue footed boobies is how they catch food: They fly in perfect formation, high in the sky like fighter jets, then they turn at a right angle and dive, smacking the water with huge splashes in perfect unison like supercharged torpedoes. Our naturalists told us they dive down up to forty-five feet deep and they only catch fish on the way back up, never on the dive down. If they don't catch any fish, they take off into the air and repeat the process. It's really strange to watch.

The Flamingo cruised over to Isabele Island.

It also had marine iguanas.

Next, we hiked on the hardened lava. This is a relatively new volcanic island (geologically speaking), so the lava was pretty barren and not many plants could survive on it. So we climbed on the rocks with their deep crevices. Some of the crevices were so deep that one of the people on our boat was afraid to walk across some of them because she was afraid of heights.

Forgetting the prerequisite meals, we went snorkeling next. The Zodiac took us to a good place. I had a wet suit on because the water was somewhat cold.

It wasn't unreasonably cold, though. They didn't have a wet suit big enough for Kathy, so she snorkeled without one.

Snorkeling was awesome. We had previously bought underwater cameras at a Target store, and so we started taking photos of what we saw. The most cool thing was dozens of giant sea turtles swimming around us. At one point, a turtle swam directly underneath me and it looked enormous. It looked as long as me, but twice as wide. I thought it must have weighed more than three hundred pounds. I love turtles.

We also saw other kinds of fish. There were schools of tiny fish that were shiny. Now and then, one of those fish would turn to reflect the sunlight and it was a tiny flash of brilliant white light. Combined with the other fish in the school, and it looked like a fireworks display. The whole school of fish shimmered and sparkled.

We saw star fish, puffer fish, and lots of fish I really couldn't identify, both big and small. We were told that we might even see some sharks, but we didn't see any. And sometimes sea lions would dart around us playfully. It was an absolutely wonderful experience.

As we snorkeled, there was a current that pulled us along the coast of the island, keeping us with an ever-changing array of sea creatures to view. I used up my entire 27-shot underwater camera. Kathy did too. The problem is, we only brought four of them, and now we've used up half of them. Most of my underwater photos were of sea turtles.

Later, we went for a ride on the Zodiac where we saw lots of wildlife up close, such as the blue-footed boobies,


penguins and great blue herons like we have in Minnesota

and other birds.

After that, we drove to a landing on Isabele

where we walked up to the top of the island and around Darwin's lake where we took photos,

including a group photo.

We continued walking across the island until we came to a huge lava field. It looked quite barren.

That was fun, but physically tiring.