Marine Iguanas

Amy composing a shot
Sea Lion
"Blue-footed boobie"
Marine Iguana
Well, since the Galapagos are a National Park there are some very important rules to follow.  First rule of the Galapagos you must not talk about the Galapagos, second rule of the Galapagos you must not talk about the Galapagos, third rule of the Galapagos you must not talk about the Galapagos, etc…Basically since your in a pristine natural park you must not take anything off the islands & import it with you back to the mainland or else you could pay a very hefty fine to the national park service.  That wouldn’t be fun.  So those shells your itching to take home, best bet is to do it via your camera.  Basically be careful not to transport any live material to the islands, or from one island to the next. Do not be taking any food, to the uninhabited islands. Of course a big no no, not to touch or handle any of the animals, you don’t want a sea lion to attack you or a bird for that matter. Of course the animals may not be fed. Don’t be startling or chase any animals from its resting or nesting spot. Do not leave the areas which are designated are visiting sites, basically stay on the trails and don’t be wondering off & disrupting the eco system.  Always take your litter with you, I think that’s just a common rule for any hiker any where in the world, basically leave the trail how you found it. Oh another big one, do not buy souvenirs or objects made from plants or animals of the islands, but they say wood is ok. Also, camping without a permit is against the law, got to obey those rules, but you can’t build a campfire only use gasoline or kerosene stove.  Basically it’s best to leave the dead trees alone for the ecosystem is what the national park is telling you. Oh, don’t be painting name or graffiti on the rocks. Another big one, all groups must have a register guide. The national park is divided into different zones to facilitate its rule. And finally, don’t hesitate to show your conservationist attitude to protect the Galapagos for the future. Those are the basic rules outline in a nutshell. But another major one that is forgotten to go out & have some fun & to enjoy this paradise, it’s amazing! 
Whale Bones
Sea Lion Carcass Decaying
Another day sailing around the enchanted Galapagos with numerous crossing of the Equator during the night as well as during the day, which is pretty remarkable to say “yes, I’ve sailed across the Equator” & it was pretty amazing.  I really enjoy the island that we are stopping at for a pretty amazing mammal, the marine iguanas.  However, the do look like something from the dinosaur time, but they are pretty fun to watch as they sit on top of one another or just swimming around the ocean going their merry way.  Fernandiana, once known as Narborough, is an imposing volcano rising to 1520 meters in elevation that is one of the most active volcanoes in the world & the world’s largest completely pristine island.  It’s known of the flanks that are streaked with innumerable fresh lava flows, which mostly are black & lifeless.  The landing site for the morning s Punta Espinosa where it rejects the abundant life supported directly by the rich seas bathing this stark coastline. The marine iguanas are basking in the sun on the dark lava, while sea lions, penguins’ flightless cormorants, herons & sea turtles can also be seen here.  The hike is mostly along the shoreline, over solid black slabs of “ropy” lava, which can be traced back to the Hawaiian term “Pahoehoe”.  This place is amazing.  You never know what’s waiting for you around every corner.  Always having your camera prepared waiting for that perfect shot.  Always better to take more than what you think you need in these islands.
Welcome to the Marine Iguana show, again another morning to catch a glimpse of the “golden hour” to take advantage of some of the best light of the day.  Oh, I was happy to do so at that time.  I found myself getting a new name for the National Geographic Photographer Amy Toensing who is on board for two weeks with her husband Matt Moyer who is also a National Geographic Photographer, “blue footed-boobie” cos my toe shoes, are blue & I could easily be mistaken for a boobie. I asked her if she wanted a photo and she finally got on of my feet next to the black lava.  I’m enjoying talking with Amy & Matt, they are very down to earth, easy to talk to & explains the photo concepts in a smile matter with examples.  I particular like how Amy is using writing a sentence as an analogy to composing a photograph with having a subject & verb in your sentence.  It’s all about thinking about working in layers with your foreground & background.  It’s nice to have the chance to go out & shoot with pros to learn something new.  It’s been a wonderful experience.
Galapagos Penguins
I quite enjoy walking along the shore of Fernandina cos you never know what your going to get.  The first stop was to watch the marine iguanas at sunrise & honestly it felt like ten minutes went by before you knew it an hour had gone by.  The lighting was awesome at this hour.  I love to watch the marine iguanas cos you get to see each of the characteristics of its faces.  However, the head banging that I found out from the Naturalist Jonathan was to inform me to get out of their territory. They got quite the way to let humans to know when to leave. They are just fun to watch cos you never know what they are going to do.  I also found out that there are seven species of marine iguanas in the Galapagos & it’s the only place in the world where you can see them. Also, this is matting time for many of the animals here & some have just given birth as well. A nice time to see what is going on.  The coast of this island is pretty young with black lava & sand where you can find sea lions, birds, Sally Lightfoot Crabs to name a few of the species that you see along your walk.  Also, not to forget looking at the cactus & whale bones.  Sometimes you might find some dead animals too.  I saw a dead sea lion eroding away & it was quite interesting to take a peak of.  It didn’t scare me like the dead birds.  Overall another beautiful morning walking on shore for a little over three hours to make a story with the first light of the day.  I also, enjoy snorkeling off the coast of the island.  There’s definitely something special about this place knowing that you’re bound to find a marine iguana at any time.  This I didn’t see one or a penguin, but got to hear a penguin instead.  I saw several giant sea turtles, sea cucumber, sea urchins, a few rays & beautiful school of fishes amongst the rocks & coral.  Overall a very satisfying morning.
Yet again, I find myself sailing across the Equator to experience summer & winter all in one day.  However, in these parts it’s known as the rainy & dry seasons.  I realized that we crossed the mouth of the Bolivar Channel that separates Fernandina & Isabela (it looks like a sea horse) set to Ecuador Volcano on Isabela. It’s a bit overcast with sprinkles of rain, but still nice & warm with sun peaking threw the clouds.  I found out that most of the spectacular shield volcano that is bisected by the Equator collapsed and slumped away into the ocean, leaving some fascinating views of the inner caldera wall & the caldera floor. The ship dropped anchor at the southern end of the caldera, in an area called Punta Vincent Roca.  It’s an amazing spot to take a wee zodiac cruise along the base of the imposing cliffs.  Also, in view is two of Islabela’s five volcanoes, one being Wolf Volcano, which is the highest geographical point in the archipelago. However, these islands have had many problems with introduced organisms over the span of time since humans started to colonize them.  Wolf Volcano on the northern end of Isablea is the site of recent discovery of a new species of the pink land iguana.  Cruising around in a zodiac looking for a Galapagos sunfish, looking at boobies & other birds, got to see pair of birds mating, penguins up close & persona on rocks, caves, sea turtles & a working fishing boat.  Another successful day of sailing & not to forget that I’ve crossed the Equator several times once again. 

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