Day 2, late afternoon in Punta Suarez
We spent some time hiking on the trails in Punta Suarez, watching the birds on the cliffs. It is thought that the steep bluff facing the southeast trade winds is the reason why the albatross chose this island. Both adults and juveniles are able to fly with effortless ease by jumping off the cliffs.
Galapagos sea lions were everywhere. When ashore, the Galapagos sea lions rest on sandy beaches and rocky areas in colonies of about 30 individuals.
Another marine iguana. Since these iguanas have the ability to forage in the sea, they are marine reptiles.
One of our groups heading back to the ship at the end of the day. In 1986, a law was passed to control fishing and over-exploitation of Galapagos marine animals. One of the threats to the Galapagos is increased tourism so in 1998, a visitor management system including permits and quotas was implemented. Therefore, the amount of people allowed on the islands as well as the amount of time spent is controlled. When we went ashore, we always divided up into smallish groups with at least one geologist lecturing about the land and the animals. However, while I was on the islands, I never actually felt rushed.
There were Sally Lightfoot crabs everywhere on the rocks. These crabs are brightly-coloured coastal scavengers found in the Galapagos Islands and across the western coast of South and Central America. They are rumored to be named after a Caribbean dancer, due to their agility in jumping from rock to rock, their ability to run in four directions and their capacity to climb up vertical slopes. These characteristics make it very difficult to catch them.
Our ship was the MS National Geographic Endeavour, build in 1966. The ship had room for 96 passengers and 68 staff and crew. The bedrooms were small but very comfortable. The food was excellent and everything ran very smoothy. The ship had a small gym (I never went). There was a very large lounge where we had some lectures and people spent time socializing. Often it was fun to just sit outside and watch the various islands and birds in the sky. There was also a small swimming pool. After dinner there were some activities including local entertainment, lectures or movies. However, during the day we were kept busy with various outdoor activities. There were scuba/snorkeling expeditions, hikes and/or walks on land, normally twice a day, glass bottom boat rides, kayaking or Zodiac boat rides.