Today we woke up in the easternmost area of the Galapagos, the part closest to mainland Ecuador. Plenty of birds squawked in the air here and there. Red-footed boobies soared and landed on the bushes along the slopes of one of the ancient tuff cones of San Cristobal Island.
We began our landing on a spectacular beach as the sun lit up the bright crystals of the glittering olivine at our feet. We walked beside sea lions sunbathing on the warm sand. Blue-footed boobies were busy diving and preying upon what might have been black-striped salemas, one of their favorite breakfast foods.
Our fellow explorers continued up through a dry ravine formed over the years by rainfall in the heart of the tuff cone. We reached a flattened trail and enjoyed the beautiful landscape. The blue sea meets the green sand, and sea lions played and rolled in the waves.
We found some red-footed boobies perched on the branches of Galapagos Nolana. Crimson red sesuvium caused by the dry season and volcanic lava rocks on one of the cliffs painted the landscape with contrasts.
At the end of the trail, we returned to the beach to begin water activities like swimming and snorkeling. Some of our guests swam with sea turtles and sea lions.
We navigated to our next destination, and the weather improved for good. We prepared for our next wet landing. As we disembarked, we had a good view of the most iconic rock formation, the famous Kicker Rock. We disembarked on another flour white sand beach and strolled towards a colony of sea lions resting after a long day fishing. They took a very well-deserved nap as we took in the sight of a striated heron and a whimbrel in the intertidal pools. The tide was really low due to the moon stage, making it the perfect restaurant for these long-legged birds.
A small group of guests, including me and our great EL Socrates, took part in a meditation/yoga session let by Juliana and Jane. The practice was great for the participants, as we couldn’t ask for a better location for this activity. We feel so thankful for this moment.
It was time to return to the ship as our captain set course towards majestic Kicker Rock at sunset. The rock caused admiration in Charles Darwin’s time, and it elicited the same admiration and awe today. We circumnavigated the 500-foot-tall rock that resembles a shoe, a reclining lion, and, when seen from a different angle, the head of a lioness sleeping on the ground. To add more drama to the scene, the moon was in its third quarter stage, and the scenery and wildlife created the “Magic of the Galapagos.”