Espanola or Hood is a small island in the south east region of the archipelago. It is populated by many boobies, albatross, and sea lions. There are also some spectacular vistas
The bird guano is very acidic and helps to break down the rock into fertilizer and plays a very important part of the ecosystem.
This is the Waved Albatross. These huge birds have a wing span of up to 6.5 feet. They breed almost exclusively on this island. They can live for up to 50 years.
These birds lay a single, huge egg and both parents take 3-week turns sitting on it for the 62 days it takes to hatch. They also take turns making a 2000 mile round trip flight to Peru in order to catch fish and squid to feed their young.
As part of their mating ritual, they "sword fight" with their beaks.
This is the Galapagos Hawk.
We had to share the beaches with dozens of sea lions.
Some of the big males may chase you away since they get territorial during mating season. The females and young pups don't mind people, and some really seem to enjoy interacting with humans.
These animals for the most part enjoy human company, and actually seem to like posing for photos.
I did alot of snorkeling in the waters around almost every island. The cold Counter Equatorial (Cromwell) Current from the west, the Humboldt current from Antarctica and the South Equatorial Current from the east, and the warm North Equatorial (Panama) Counter Current from the northeast all collide around the Galapagos making water temperatures vary from month to month.
The currents are such that the water is very cold (65-70F) this time of year even though we are on the equator. It was a shock getting in the water, but somehow it wasn't noticable once I began swimming with sea lions, penguins, giant pacific green turtles, etc.
Once I made an effort to dive down while snorkeling with the sea lions, they would swim circles around me, come up between my legs, and "kiss" my mask. It was a very magical experience. I did this on almost every island and got the same response from all the animals.
This is the Blue Footed Boobie -- One of the most common birds in the Galapagos. Supposedly, they were named "Boobies" because they landed on sailing ships and were too stupid to fly away and were easy to catch.
Another story has it that, because of their cross-eyed look, they were called Bobos -- the Spanish word for clown, hence boobies derived from that.
They have absolutly no fear of humans and actually build nests right on the marked trails where hundreds of tourists walk by. I accidently stepped on one's tail (fortunately, just the feathers) and all it did was squawk at me a little. It didn't move.
Boobies have a very interesting way of fishing. They fold their wings back, and stretch and squeeze their bodies into the shape of a thin missle as they plunge into the sea at very high speeds. This allows them to dive down up to 20 feet deep. They don't catch fish on their way in, but rather as they swim back up to the surface.
A boobie sitting on two eggs.
Clean and rinse off boobie breasts, place them in a plastic bag, and fill with enough olive oil to coat the breasts. Add the other sauces and seasonings. Seal up the bag and shake it thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight.
Take boobie breasts out and cook on the grill. Be careful to avoid grease fires. Great for when you're hunting on the go.
There are three species of boobies in the Galapagos. The Blue footed, Red footed, and this is the Nazca Boobie. The latter are also knowned as the Masked Boobie.
They all tasted the same to me -- a little greasy and fishy.