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Ellen's Journal

February 23

After a relatively late breakfast at 7:15, we went to another part of Santiago, James Bay (Puerto Egas), a black sand beach. We walked along a trail through some trees, grasses, cacti and shrubs with blue-footed boobies flying off the cliffs and ground finches and mockingbirds flitting around. The trail led to lava cliffs which reminded me of the sandstone landscapes of the southwest as well as the coastal lava cliffs in Hawaii.

There were many pools, both deep and shallow, hollowed out by the pounding surf. Marine iguanas and fur seals inhabited these depressions. One deep depression was like a blowhole, filling up with water, swirling and foaming with the receding waves. Black rock against the blue of the sky and water - beautiful and dramatic!

We saw some stilts and ruddy turnstone. Galapagos flycatchers flitted around us. This species likes to pluck strands of hair from humans' heads to use in their nest building. One landed on my head, tickling as it briefly walked around.

Back on the beach, we wandered a bit to the furthest point we were allowed to walk. There were two arches in the lava, one of which had formed only in the last year. The forces of nature which create this beauty are apparent everywhere.

Doug went snorkeling and observed some white-tipped sharks and sea lions cavorting in a little trough. I sat in the shade of a manzanilla or poison apple, which is a member of the spurge family, and are poisonous to all except tortoises which adore them. Angelika advised us not to touch any part of the tree!

We saw 2 Galapagos hawks - one flying overhead as we approached the beach and the other (or perhaps the same one) as we explored the area near the arches.

After lunch, I decided to stay on board while everyone went to Espumilla Beach, a red sand beach, on Santiago. Everyone said I didn't miss much. Doug saw an Ani and they walked through a mangrove forest, saw a goat skeleton, and went swimming. I read and watched the waves and clouds. The silence was broken when the alarm went off and the crew started running around. I was a bit panicked as we had had a drill in the event of an emergency when we first got on board. I didn't know what was happening. Should I go get my life vest or what? Francisco came to my rescue and told me it was "preparation" and motioned me to remain. Then he ran upstairs and the alarm ceased. After all the activity, the captain came down and apologized. Apparently he didn't realize there was anyone on board and he staged a drill for the crew. They really got into action testing equipment. It was good to know they are ready in the event of an emergency.

Every night after dinner, we have gone up to the top deck to marvel at the night sky. There are so many stars! Orion is visible as is the Milky Way, but we have been unable to identify other constellations. Angelika told us that at about 10:00 we would be able to see both the Big Dipper and the Southern Cross, but I doubt we'll be up that late!

NaturesPix Website NaturesPix YouTube Olfarts' Home Other Trips Home Galapagos Trip Home Quito to Galapagos Santa Cruz (Las Bachas Beach) Santiago & Bartolome Genovese (Prince Phillips Steps) Genovesa (Darwin Bay) Isabela (Punta Vicente Roca) Fernandina Isabela (Urbina Elizabeth Bays) Isabela (Tintoreras, Volcan Sierra Negra, Tortoise Breeding Center) Santa Cruz(Highlands), Boat, People, Crew

(Music: Cupid's Revenge by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons "Attribution 3.0" http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/3.0/