Galapagos Islands

Hover on the pictures for comments

Photo album and Movie



Click for bigger version

An amazing place of wildlife.
Volcanic islands, 600 miles from S.America, relatively untouched by human idiots so the wildlife is plentiful and friendly.

They try really hard to keep human influences out. Humans have only been here 100 years

Our home 'Cachalote' for the week

The best (only!) way to get around is by living on a yacht. It costs the same for one week here as it did for the 9 weeks in a truck from Chile to Ecuador! Ouch! Can anyone lend me a fiver?

View from the bow

 

No wonder they got captured easily


Giant tortoises were once widespread, but they were taken in their 1000's by sailors who used to stack them on board as a fresh meat supply. They live unfed (and unhappy!) for up to a year.

200yrs ago the biggest ever could not be lifted by 6 sailors. So they chopped it into bits...

 

6ft long reef shark

We went snorkelling every day. Sharks were rare, we only saw one 6ft reef shark. They have big teeth but fortunately they are more scared of us than we are of them. Although, as I swam alongside it trying to get a photo, I'll bet I was more scared than he was! Luckily they're attracted to blood rather than other smells...

Turtles were everywhere, you couldn't move for them.

They don't eat people, but still scary when you swim alongside, 1 metre away...

Very graceful

They're about 4ft long

 

The elusive penguin

 

Penguins were hard to find when snorkelling, but we had one group that played with us for a few minutes before zipping off. One even tried to remove Michelle's fins!

They swim like little torpedoes, trailing a line of bubbles.

 

Strange creature. Not found anywhere else in the world

Marine iguanas - Ugly chaps who lounge around all day in the sun. Saw one while snorkelling. They tuck their legs in and swim like a fish using their tail.

Land iguanas (below) - Similar beasts - but they don't like to get wet!

They often sat on each other to get more breeze

Not afraid of humans, this one walked up to us

 

 

 


Land iguana with partly shed skin

 

This one thought he owned the jetty

Sealions are the best animals ever. They spend all day sleeping or playing with each other. When you're snorkelling they come and play with you. They sneak up behind you and pull your fins and play chicken by

Looking happy. (And fat!)

Trying to look cute

swimming fast at your face before swerving off at the last second. They sneeze a lot, as Michelle found out when taking a close up of ones face!

A seal sneeze caught mid flight!


Steve with seal

Michelle with seal

 

One of the few animals who didn't pose happily for the camera

 

There's 100's of these monster crabs everywhere.

They shed their shell as they grow (that's what Michelle is holding!)

An empty shell

 

Waiting for a baby chick or a child to pass by...

Galapagos Hawk - They didn't do much other than sit there looking menacing. I suspect they eat children as there were none on the islands.

I wouldn't offer him my finger to suck on...

 

No more than slightly indignent that we shoved our cameras into her nest

 

Blue footed boobies - big cute friendly seagull type things which dive into the water and catch fish.

 

They really do have blue feet!

Happy with us being there

 

You can go up close and the worst you'll get is a hard stare.

 


They hit the water like darts

 

Looking comfortable!

Pelicans were a constant entertainment. They look big and stupid, but are graceful in flight and majestic when they dive in from a great height to catch fish.

Huge birds, 2-3m wingspan?

\

Albatroses are ginormous ( ~3m wingspan?), amazing when flying, but landing is more like crashing. And then they waddle like a fat penguin. Like the boobies, they nest right by the path and don't move when you walk past.

No predators here so happy enough with us being around.

The biggest birds of the lot - 3 metre wingspan.

 

One of the coolest things to watch swim

White spotted eagle rays flew around in lagoons like a squadrons of aircraft. They had about a 1 metre wingspan.

There were about 15 in this gang

 

It was really expensive, at least £1,100 each for the week, but it was a trip of a lifetime and you just can't see this number of animals close up anywhere else in the world. At least we avoided having to pay to fly from UK as we were already nearby!

Back to cheap hostals now and eating pasta with dog food sauce...

Sneaking through the mangrove swamps looking for a Macdonalds

 

Next country - Brazil