Our last full day in the Galápagos was spent on Isla San Cristóbal. We spent the morning at one location than navigated over lunch time to see something a little further on. The morning was a hike up a steep path through a canyon…
… that twisted and hairpin-turned, nearly always at too close of quarters for good pictures but the mountains around us were amazing.
We saw four or five different kinds of lizard between all the islands we visited.
We finally got to the top with awesome views of the ocean all around us. I love this pic in particular (it’s my Twitter banner currently). I never thought I’d have a picture of me with a bunch of yachts, and one of them’s my ride!
But the point of this hike was the boobies. Where we were hiking to had the ground nests of the blue-footed boobies as well as the tree nests of the red-footed and nazca boobies. A lot of the blue-footed boobies nested right on the path (the rocks were put their by the naturalists to give the nests a little zone of privacy, for those who might not respect the white spray of, well, you can guess what a boobie can do to mark its territory).
This boobie has its mouth open and is making a trilling motion with its throat to cool off; the sun was intense that day, and this one chose to nest in no shade whatsoever.
Then we saw an adorably fuzzy newborn boobie, also way too hot in the full sun so its parent is trying to make it some shade.
The next nest over was expecting twins.
The red-footed boobies on nest duty were hard to distinguish from the others; if you can’t see their feet they all look alike. But this one was out of nest, just chillin’.
We saw nazca boobies too, but their feet are quite ordinary and they were all in the nests like the red-footed boobies. This is probably one of those, a bit of a drop below me.
And of course the Galápagos also have finches, and finch nests.
But everywhere you go you see my two favorites: napping sea lion pups and hoary-looking iguanas.
The hike ended at a beach which was our last snorkel. We swam along the rock face to the right:
After lunch we went on a panga ride to explore more rock formations, some high-sided alcoves:
And some we could have sailed straight through:
The ceiling inside of the second one was quite cool, lots of different colors all melted together. Sadly it was dark up there and none of my pics turned out, but here is a picture of me taking a picture of the ceiling:
The pangas then took us to a postcard-perfect white sandy beach bordered by volcanic rock. There was nobody there but us boat passengers, the best sort of evening on the beach:
These two sea lions were very chummy, and completely ignored the dozens of humans taking pictures of them cuddling.
If there was anything we saw more of than sea lions and iguanas, it was frigate birds. They hover and watch for opportunities to snatch other bird’s fish. They look nearly Batman-esque with their impressive outline.
The day ended with the ship circling this rock formation. We mistimed our opportunity to get a pic with the sun setting between the two rock formations, but there’s always next time, right?