Monday, July 30, 2007

Galapagos update

Hola Mi Amigos,
We are back in Santa Cruz, but spent one night on Floreana, and four nights in the paradise of Isabela. The hotel on Isabela was on the beach, and what a beach it was. The sand was the texture of baby powder. There was an amazing sandy bottomed tide pool on the beach with damsel fish, little puffer fish that came up and nibbled on my feet, and small schools of other fish I didn´t recognize.

I was able to do two night snorkels in a lagoon surrounded by mangroves. Huge sea cucumbers and brittle stars were out, along with many sea hares. Not many fish at night, but it was just fun being in the water at night with a full moon shining down.

Muy tranquilo!

At one spot during the day it was warm enough to snorkel without a wet suit and that was a great exerience. I was able to more easily dive down to see an incredible array of fish. Amazing fish! Rainbow parrot fishes, wrasses, hogfish. At one point we got chased away by a large male sea lion, but he just barked at us underwater, and did not chase us as we quickly swam away.

On the way to Santa Cruz we stopped to snorkel at an area called the four brothers. There was a large cave I swam into and at the mouth of the cave were thousands of fry- tiny tiny fish. I swam back until I couldn´t see anything and when I turned around to swim out was greated by the most beautiful blue green as the sun shone on the water at the mouth of the cave.The fan corals there were intense orange and yellow. I swam over at least a dozen porcupine puffer fish. I love the water here!

On Isabel I had the most spectacular experience I have had here, and one of the most intense experiences I have had in nature. At about 4:45 one afternoon I was talking with some fellow classmates on the beach when all of a sudden one of them yelled Boobies ! Hundreds of blue footed boobies flew into area started diving into the water very close to shore. I had my camera and rushed down to the beach where standing in knee deep water I was soon surrounded by an orgy of feeding. Boobies, Frigate birds flying over my head close enough to touch, brown noddies, dozens of pelicans, and sea lions were feeding on fish only a few feet from me. I could smell the boobies I was so close to them. Shortly the boobies stopped diving and were floating on the water and just dipping their beaks into the water to feed. It was a frenzy and I was in the middle of it. Tears came into my eyes as I stood tranfixed by the spectacle.

Paradise on Isabela!

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