Monday, August 09, 2010


Overnight from Isla Santa Cruz we sailed to Floreana. We were advised that the ride should be smooth, with little chance of seasickness, but that didn't actually help me sleep any better. Instead, I spent most of the night hearing every little creak and clack and clang caused by the boat's movement and trying to figure out if we were moving and if so, how far we'd gone, and did I accidentally leave the bathroom door open? None of this was helped by setting my alarm for the wrong time because I'd forgotten to change my clock to Galapagos time (an hour behind Ecuador).

But a restless night was a small price to pay for this view out our window first thing in the morning.

From Floreana

From Floreana

Our first adventure on Floreana was a ride around the rocks in the dinghies. Of course there were a million animals, all doing cool things and completely ignoring us. The pictures below cover a lot (remember to click for the full album), but I was unable to capture a few exciting creatures on film: stingrays, a set turtle, and most exciting, a Galapagos penguin. That's right kids, the Galapagos are the only place in the world where a penguin would live on the Equator.

The views from high up are from Baronessa Hill, our only short stopping point for the morning. Next, our first snorkeling, but I'll leave that for a separate post.

In the afternoon, we traveled to Punta Cormorant on the north side of Floreana. The beach purportedly has green sand, which is semi-true if you look closely. I was hoping for something as dramatic as Piha's black sand (which apparently I never posted pictures of) or even the purple sand at Pfeiffer State Beach, but we just got some olivine crystals when you picked up a handful. Galapagos: strike one.

A short walk took us to some inland salt flats, I think created by salt water seeping up through the silty ground. Usually this is a flamingo hangout, but there were none to be seen. Somehow our guide did spot a flamingo egg way off in the distance (I guess that's why he gets paid the big bucks). I marked it in the picture, but really it was only visible through binoculars or a super-telephoto lens. Just use your imagination to envision a really, really big white egg. The size made me understand why flamingos only lay one egg once every four years.

I was more fascinated by the landscape, which resembled some weird alien world (or at least all the weird alien worlds I've ever been to). I guess I somewhat imagined the Galapagos to be lush and tropical--if they have such an extreme diversity of strange animal life, wouldn't it be the same for plants? This statement probably is more a reflection of my own misunderstanding that diverse plant life would equal greenery. There was definitely something diverse about the white leaf-less trees all over Floreana.

Continuing past the salt flats we arrived at Flour Beach, which lands squarely in the Top 10 (Top 5? Top 2?) beaches I have ever been to. It's named for its sand, which has the consistency of flour (white flour, not whole-wheat). It's hard to describe how soft and fluffy it was, but perhaps the picture gives some sort of indication.

Our main reason for coming to this beach was not the floury sand, nor the sea turtle nests, nor the masses of crabs scuttling around the lava rocks. It was the stingrays. Our guide led us into the surf, instructing us to shuffle our feet. The reason: if you pick up your feet to take full steps, you might accidentally step on a stingray. And good thing for the instructions, because they were everywhere. Another example of animals who don't seem to notice or care about human presence. The pictures are a little hard to make out, but the video gives a slightly better idea. Just look for the little black patches--those are stingrays!

1 comment:

eveline said...

Me and my family are planning to go on a cruise on the Galapagos Islands and I was wondering if anybody have suggestions any companies that you would recommend? I need reservation
in Galapagos Journey III