Another beautiful day sailing around the Galapagos, where I believed that I sailed once again across the Equator two times to reach Santiago during the night.  I can’t keep counting on the number of Equator crossings I’ve have had, whether it be from sailing of by flying. Santiago is the fourth largest island which was also known as San Salavador or James at one time, its characterize by a verdant highland region & sourced of fresh water inland which was a key to the very first settlers to the Galapagos.  It’s a very dramatic island of many colors & habitats that show evidence of having had volcanic activity in the past as demonstrated by the long stretched of black basalt lava cliffs along the coast of James Bay. I believe it’s the first day all week that blue sky was gracing its presence, but sad to say not for long.
"First Light" Zodiac landing at beach
The day begins not with a photo walk, but rather a walk to visit Playa Espumilla.  The beach is famous for one of the archipelagos’ most important marine turtle nesting areas.  The trail is located behind the mangroves over a stony terrain to reach the summit into the mature Palo Santo forest for the view from the top.  I had a lovely time. It started out with me hanging out with staff in the loading deck of the 200 level waiting for boat ops to being. I actually quite enjoy this time. I learned from, Eric, the new V/C, that I made it into his “Video DER” (Daily Expedition Report) Isabela Island, Galapagos DER 17 January 2012  with footage of me getting into the zodiac from snorkeling yesterday.  So, I guess I’ve made it into two DER’s right now, the other one from the time I went diving in Baja last March (I have the link on an earlier post).  Well it was rather a challenging beach landing, like the ones in Costa Rica due to the surf.  I did get soaked on the way back though & immediately checked my pack to make sure my camera was dry. I started my day with a nice conversation with one of the guest about the act of being than always being on the go go go.  The conversation entailed how courage for a woman to go backpacking alone & not many can look inside for that spiritual strength.  I used the analogy from Eat, Pay Love in the scene in Italy in a barber shop where a couple of Italians accuses Elizabeth that Americans are always in a hurry to get somewhere rather than just enjoying the moment.  It’s true cos I’ve seen it in my travels & have been accused myself when I first started out backpacking in Australia many years ago.  Traveling is amazing that it lets you be in that moment without any interruptions & you can actually experience what is at any given time.  It’s challenging when you’re in your work mode to get back to that moment at times, but you can always come back.    Any who I had a lovely morning looking at the turtle tracks, listing to CT naturalize about turtles along with Antonio’s naturalizing & humor, hiked up to a cliff threw some forest.  I also, got thanked from another one of the guest for being so caring to his wife on the photo walks I have taken with her all week. I do have an aura for this & I swear that people can pick it from time to time, my Irish grandmother taught me well.  Nice to see a lush abundance of green on the trail with some morning dew on the plants, spectacular views from the top. I was happy to take advantage of the hike cos I didn’t go last time where I choose to do a session of yoga instead.  I have to admit that yoga is the same time as the photography walks that I have choose photography over yoga.  But, some things from the practice still stays with you like forgetting about being the best of the best & always on the go go go, like most Americans are & just sit back relax & be in the moment.  Stillness is in the breath. Just accept that your doing the best you can at the moment & don’t listen to what others are saying about it or that lovely voice in your head that you want to turn off from time to time, but sadly we can’t do that as humans. Like the Beatles said “money can’t buy me love”. Yes, staying positive, happiness & love come from within deep in the soul.
Goat Skull
Turtle Tracks on Beach
The day also brought exploration to the historic & very scenic Buccaneer Cove, which were a one-time pirate haunt as well as being the area where Charles Darwin landed for his longest stint on land in the Galapagos.  He spent a total of five weeks in the Galapagos, which included a nineteen days on land where nine were spent on Santiago.  A few days ago a very nice guest, Barbara, who I’ve been enjoying chatting with photography in the photo walks asked me if I would like here disposable underwater camera cos she’s not going snorkeling.  I said sure & been meaning to get it from her for a couple of days now until she just decided to give it to me at dinner last night.  I was very touch by the act of kindness & generosity. I guess it was her way to say thank you for being so caring.  Also, the other day she suggested for me to go online to get a naturalist degree, but I told her that thought has crossed my mind with the many other thoughts I have with my traveling. Snorkeling was amazing. I was one of the last ones in the water with Jason, the staff member.  I found myself snorkeling threw a big cloud of jellyfish & laughed like crazy on it cos the last time I did something like that was while snorkeling up in Queensland in the Whitsundays.  The visibility was good with an abundance of school of a variety of fishes, sea lions, sharks & of course the jellyfishes.  I don’t know how well my underwater photography skills are cos to be honest they make it very hard to shoot your priceless Kodak moments threw the viewfinder of the disposable camera.  I really enjoyed myself. Of course it’s the rainy season & spurts of rain came coming down, it was too good to be true with all blue sky first thing this morning. I’m not going to lie that I’ve been getting spoiled with towels in the zodiac after snorkeling cos I barley use them while diving & also to sit in the sauna to detox myself for a bit too.
The afternoon was spent at Puerto Egas for a lovely stroll along the coast to an indented shoreline where one can find many shore birds, marine iguanas, sea lions & fur seals in a landscape deeply carved by sea-level grottos.  Well, let’s just say my afternoon’s plans got alter in a way. After a fantastic presentation by Amy & Matt that did inspire me to shoot people, to get a story, their images were beautiful & words couldn’t describe the beauty I found. I decided to pack my pack ready to go out for a hike.  I was hanging out with the staff & crew where I found myself in the mist of guy talk in Spanish waiting for the rain to stop on the 200 deck zodiac loading station.  Well, let’s just say I let everything in one ear & out the other.  I decided to opt out of the hike & I wanted to let my pack dry for tomorrow’s activities in Santa Cruz.  I ended up going snorkeling from the beach with CT & Palto, another staff member, & had the best afternoon.  It was nice to have some “alone” time away from the guest. Snorkeling in the rain was unbelievable amazing.  I LOVED IT! Oh, I did.  I laughed & glowed with happiness.  Well, let’s see the marine life was amazing & the water was the warmest all week so far.  I saw a pair of sea lions playing looking for food or acting as a cleaning station. Found a cave that Palto snorkeled threw, I didn’t cos I’m not too good at free diving that deep. Beautiful sea urchins, blue footed-boobies, white tip gray reef sharks, stingray & of course the abundance school of fishes.  Also got caught up in the surf over the rocks & drifted with the current for a while. I just laughed the whole time cos it was so much fun. Yes, fun fun fun, I had! Funny, I had a conversation with the zodiac driver & Palto on how good my Spanish was.  Oh, I claimed it wasn’t too good & I only knew a little.  A friend of mine from time to time will speak to me in Spanish to teach me, but that’s another story.  I just end up laughing at him. Well, let’s get back to what I’m saying, oh yeah, I said that the only words I basically know are a few greetings & the important ones like cerveasa & tequila.  My afternoon snorkel was definitely over an hour & was probably the best so far in my two trips to the Galapagos. I finished getting a zodiac ride all by myself back to the Endeavour where I engaged in small talk with the zodiac driver & could understand what he was saying to me in Spanish.  Of course I enjoyed another sauna time & shared with Cindy the Expedition Leader on how wonderful my afternoon was.
Also, the goats & pigs are completely gone, thanks to numerous donations of Lindblad Expedition guest.  Lindblad has ‘adopted’ Santiago & created a special fund (Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Fund for Galapagos) where the guest can help support a major eradication effort to eliminate feral goats & pigs from the island.  Lindblad has revived numerous prestigious awards in their conservation efforts in the Galapagos.  It’s very nice to see an eco-tourism company to take a stand in helping to preserve the environment by their continuing conservation projects in all of their destinations.
It was very nice to get some positive feedback last night on my photo critique with Amy, who told me she loved the photos I submitted for the assignment.  I submitted a landscape shot during sunrise & plant one of a green plant that is related to the sunflower family.  Well, two of my strong subject matters too, landscapes & plants.  I really enjoyed having an assignment, which gave me something to focus on while shooting.  It was very nice to be reminded of that by CT on the trail yesterday as well.  Amy & Matt were collecting all the images from the guest for a slideshow tonight after dinner. I’m looking forward to that. I love seeing others work cos I some times say, oh I didn’t think of shooting it that way.  Also, it’s a good chance to sharpen ones eye & learning from others is always good.  I read in a book that photography is the expression of your soul.  It’s true with any art; you’re the one who’s creating it. 

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