Galapagos means tortoises.  These islands are famous for seeing them in the wild if one is lucky.  They basically live in the highlands & eat vegetation.  Most people wouldn’t guess that there was another use for them during the time of sea expeditions before the Panama Canal was built & sailors had to for months on end to reach their final destination or find fresh perishable food to stock their galley’s. However, sailors used to eat them when they sailed threw the islands. Scary, but it’s true.  As quoted in Kurt Vonnegut book “Galapagos”:
As she had often told her students, sailing ships bound out across the Pacific used to stop off in the Galapagos Islands to capture defenseless tortoises, who could live on their backs without food or water for months.  They were so slow and tame and huge and plentiful.  Sailors would capsize them without fear of being bitten or clawed. Then they would drag them down to the waiting longboats on the shore, using the animals’ own useless suits of armor for sleds.
They would store them on their backs in the dark, paying no further attention to them until it was time for them to be eaten.  The beauty of the tortoise to the sailors was that they were fresh meat which did not have to be refrigerated or eaten right away.
Flowers with morning mist
Since I’m on a photo exhibition, I was issued an assignment from the National Geographic Photographers. A) to take a photo with layers B) take a photo that encompasses color in it.  I really enjoyed talking with them & thanked them for explaining tips that I’ve been struggling with to master. It’s not that I don’t know what I’m doing cos I definitely do, it’s just that I’ve been struggling to work my images into a “story” with a “beginning, middle & end” that you can say “I get it” there’s some depth to it.  I guess it’s a lifelong love to find that, but it’s wonderful to challenge myself & to see something new with changing my perspective.  I quite enjoy listing to Mike & CT reminders with photo tips now & then.  It’s just nice to have friendly reminder & to be shooting with people who love photography as much as I do.  Really having the opportunity to work that sexy shot is a blessing!
Land Iguana
Darwin Lake
The day begins with another “first light” for photographers on Islabela, which is the largest island in the Galapagos.  It is the only one that is created by the fusion of six enormous shield volcanoes that gave rise to the characteristic “seahorse” shape.  The walk took place along the coast of the island to Urbina Bay, at the base of Alcedo Volcano.  The trail is of some great geological & historical interest.  Back in 1954, one and one half square kilometers of the marine reef off the coast was uplifted almost instantaneously, by as much as four meters. The marine creatures were left to find shelter in the highlands & some evidence of the event that took place more than fifty years ago can still be found.  The trail is full of coral deposits & land iguanas. Quite the interesting feature of the event shapes the trail.  The photographer hike lasted for three hours & it was amazing to go to shore to see tracks from the sea turtle cos this area is a place where they nest  & lay their eggs into the ocean at night.  It was the perfect morning to find some dew on branches of plants to work on some macro photography.  The hike wasn’t too difficult this time. I’ve done the long walk where you actually climb over the coral deposits in one point. Its pretty remarkable to see the changes of the ecosystem cos this was one time on the bottom of the ocean floor. Nice to find pumice & sea rocks on the trail which is home to some land iguanas & the famous tortoises.  A lovely stroll working on skills. Practice, practice, practice with some waiting, waiting, waiting to compose your painting like a painter.  Got to think outside of the box cos artist know how to. It’s always nice to work on photography without any interruptions in a peaceful environment.
Islabela has been the focus for a significant & successful program in the ecological restoration of the islands that the eradication of feral goats & donkeys.  I heard that there are still cats on the island that they are working to get rid of.  The program is the first of its size that has been attempted on the island of that size. The flora & fauna of the island are unique & were under serious threat especially from the exploding population of goats.  The Isabela Project has been successful in paving the way to recovery for the island.
Tagus Cove "graffiti"
Tagus Cove is quite the unusual cove, it’s a historical bay where wayfarers over the centuries have sought & found a sheltered harbor & access to the island. Ships have been known to drop anchor here to spend the night.  Some interesting historical graffiti can be found near the landing & many stories can be told of visitors to this spot. The area of Isabela is one of the places visited by Charles Darwin back in 1835.  I quite enjoy this spot & it’s pretty rad to check out the graffiti, which is basically a ships name painted on the cliff.
The afternoon was filled with a variety of actives once again.  I’m on an expedition, got to keep busy right?  I found myself deep water snorkeling rather than kayaking. The ocean was a wee bit colder, oh well, I’m in the Galapagos & the underwater world is amazing.  I saw numerous schools of fishes some had a very pretty deep florescent orange to them.  Also, there were birds, numerous sea turtle, a sea lion, beautiful corals & black starfish.  I found myself on a hike as well to take advantage of the beauty of the place threw the lens.  The hike in Tagus Cove is beautiful, going up a steep step of stairs before the trail levels off.  It’s beautiful once you get up high looking at panorama views of Darwin Lake before getting to lookout site for one of the volcano’s of the islands lava flow.  A misty afternoon with just enough light to take a few photos, another successful Galapagos day!

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