We were whale watching in the morning hours, because we were in the area of the Cromwell current, which brings cool sea temperatures, which can attract whales and dolphins to the region. We did not get lucky with the whales on this trip, however. They were the only thing I think we missed though! While whale watching, we saw incredible shorelines. Here is a picture of what I think is Roca Redondo.
Once we reached the western edge, we started back southward, and again crossed the Equator, this time during daylight hours. The crew made a big production of this, inviting us all into the Bridge to watch the GPS system switch from North to South. We yelled and cheered, our one and only child on board blew the ship's horn, then we danced a limbo dance. Here's the northern GPS...
Then the southern reading....we were also issued certificates for having crossed the Equator in a ship, apparently that is cooler than just having crossed it in air.
This is along the coastline of Isabela, in the area of the Volcano Ecuador, which is a shield volcano.
More coastline...here is an area where half of a volcano just dropped off into the sea. Pretty spectacular!
We were able to take panga rides in the Zodiacs along the coastline here, and later snorkel. Mark had borrowed an underwater camera for our trip, and he took some great underwater pictures, but unfortunately, I didn't save them by date when I uploaded them, so I'm unsure of which pictures came from which location. I'm just going to do another blog entry of the snorkeling pictures, since they are too cool to skip out on!
Here is a noddy tern as seen from the Zodiac.
And this was another blue footed booby.
Here is a geologic shift, where the lava came up under the land and pushed the land up. The lava is black, the older land mass is the sand colored area.
These are flightless cormorants. They are in the midst of a courting dance, two males vying for the one female. One of the males is giving her a twig, which is how the males win mates, by bringing them gifts. These birds could fly at one time, but found ways to eat without flight once they came to the islands, and have lost the ability to fly. Their wings are short stubby thing, incapable of any flight at all.
Here's a flightless cormorant in the water. Check out his very cool eye color!
Marine iguana going after food, or heading back to shore...
Here is that same geologic shift, with our ship off to the right.
Sally Lightfoot crab
Marine iguana, posing perfectly for me.
After the panga ride, we were allowed to snorkel for awhile off of the Zodiac. The snorkeling was great, with penguins, sea lions, and all types of fish in the water. We headed back to the ship, had a wonderful lunch buffet, siesta, then a hike along an irregular lava flow on Punta Espinoza on the island of Fernandina. Fernandina is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and had an impressive eruption just this past April. This afternoon hike as over mostly lava and sand. There were large groups of iguanas gathering in the late afternoon sun to huddle together for warmth through the night. Here is one group that I photographed just "hanging out."
Here is some of the lava shoreline. It was beautiful!
Another lazy sea lion.
I'm not sure what this guy with the red feet was...
More shoreline, with the marine iguanas in the foreground.
Here's a flightless cormorant drying and warming his wings after swimming.
This guy is ready to dive off into the ocean.
These three sea lions were greeting each other.
Here's some of the lava flows on Fernandina. It is hard rock, but still has it's liquid shape.
Once you get back from the coastline, there are acres and acres, if not miles and miles, of nothing but sharp lava rocks.
Here's a baby Sally Lightfoot crab. They are black when they are born (probably for camouflage) but turn orange as they get older. This guy's body was probably about the size of a quarter.
Here was a small sheltered salt water area. The "rocks" on the edge are not rocks, but sea turtles resting.