Sunday, May 8, 2016

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Part 4: Post Office Bay, Blue-Footed Boobies, and THE LAST SUNSET

Fun fact, I think this is my only Part 4 I've ever written on the blog!  Actually, pretty sure I've never had a Part 3 either.

Cliffnotes of Day 6:
  • We sailed away from Santa Cruz and spent the morning near Isla Floriana on the world's coldest snorkeling expedition ever, but got to swim with more sea lions!  They were everywhere. There were enough that you could have your own sea lion and swim around with him without anyone else interfering. I could start every morning off like this, seriously. 

And the sea lions followed us to our boat to say good-bye! DYING.

  • In the afternoon, we sailed to Isla Floriana. The first inhabitant to the Galapagos was to Isla Floriana, and it was an Irish guy whose friends didn't like him - so they left him on this island, because it's the only one with fresh water. 

Our afternoon nature walk on Isla Floriana landed us on this beach. This is supposed to be a green sand beach. I don't see it.

Here is a juvenile flamingo, which you can tell because he's white. I've decided (real talk) that flamingoes are not my favorite animal, because they're kind of huge sissies. They get easily spooked and always try to run away even if you're 100 feet away, they're entirely too fragile (only 15-20% of babies survive), and they're not that interesting (besides being pink). Sorry, flamingoes.

Beach #4! Luci tried to go swimming here and William shouted at her not to, because the beach is a turtle nesting area and hungry sharks like to wait offshore to eat baby turtles

Next stop on Floriana: Post Office Bay, site of the first Galapagos post office! Started in 1793, this post office is famous because today, it still operates on the kindness of strangers. You can drop off postcards and rifle through the (hundreds) that are already inside - if you see one that you are willing to deliver to your respective country, you take it with you. The emphasis is that you have to personally deliver it. 

I didn't leave any postcards, but I took 3 of them with me to deliver.  Besides locale, I chose these because they were sweet - one was a mom writing to her daughter that if her daughter ever received the postcard, she would pay for her trip to go to the Galapagos. One sounded like it was written to an ex with a broken heart. And the third was a postcard someone sent themselves to remind them to enjoy life.  I have no idea when these people will actually get their postcards - but Austin, SF, and Napa, I'm coming for you with a hand-delivered postcard!

  • Afternoon snorkel was off the coast of Floriana - the water was pretty silty so I gave up after a bit (turning into such a snorkeling snob, seriously) and spent time on the beach instead.

Beach #5, Floriana Island!

Luci and I loving Sunset, Night #6

This sunset changed every 5 minutes - so, so breathtaking


Cliffnotes of Day 7:
  • Sailed to San Cristobal Island, one of the most populated islands after Santa Cruz. We went to the main city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (these cities are all named after former presidents) and visited a museum that detailed the human history of the Galapagos. And then we all sat in a cafe; and WIFIIIIIIII.
Viewpoint over San Cristobal Island

Here is a statue of Charles Darwin that stands on the island. Except how gigantically huge are his hands compared to his head?!?!

We stopped by a sea lion beach (because there's no such thing as sea lion overload)

I seriously, seriously love sea lions so much

  • In the afternoon, we sailed out to a point called La Lobería for our nature walk and snorkel.

These black birds are called frigate birds - the red thing in the middle is a male frigate trying to mate. They puff out their chests into these huge heart-shaped balloons to attract females (I'm swooning. Seriously.)  They can stay like this up to a month.  Also, these birds mate for life. They're sometimes called "pirate birds" because they like to steal prey from other birds - they'll bite other birds' tails in mid-air, which causes them to drop their prey so the frigate bird can swoop in and steal it. I seriously like everything about these birds.

It's blue-footed booby mating season! These are one of the really special birds in the Galapagos - and their feet really are very blue! Here is a female on her eggs. 

Here is an incredibly attractive blue-footed booby couple. Like.

They do this special little waddle dance to attract mates. Double like.

Here is another couple doing a mating dance together. 

During mating, the male blue-footed booby offers the female a stick during courtship. We literally watched a male booby chasing a female around with a stick in his mouth. Also, the males whistle and the females honk in response. Cutest. 

After our nature walk on the most romantic island ever (seriously, bird couples were everywhere - it was like being a fifth wheel), we went snorkeling right off the island shore.

  • There were sea lions everywhere along the shoreline of the island, but none of them wanted to come in and swim with us. They just all stared at us. Even when we made sea lion roaring noises.  But snorkeling was still pretty cool; we still saw a turtle, a stingray, and an iguana swimming underwater.


Love this water color

  • We sailed back to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno off San Cristobal for dinner and the very last sunset of the trip.

This sea lion jumped into one of our small emergency rafts. 

Appropriately, our last sunset was one of the most stunning sunsets of the entire trip

This looks like one of those photo inserts they put in photo frames that says F*R*I*E*N*D*S


  • The very last night, we stayed up late (this means like, 10pm vs. 8:30pm) and watched all the stars - the sky was so clear that you could see the entire Milky Way. Such an amazing, amazing trip and an amazing, amazing ending. It's like that song from the Lizzie McGuire movie;  "This is What Dreams Are Made Of." *mic drop*

Meal of the Day:
One small detail I missed out on when mentioning our boat - the food was delicious and amaaaazing. Every meal had like 6 courses, filled with fresh veggies and fruits. There was always snack time and tea time.  AND DINNER ALWAYS CAME WITH A DESSERT.  Some of my most highly anticipated moments were waiting to see what the dessert would be after dinner.

Hello, fresh buffet of food

I realize this looks totally unappetizing, but our evening meals were always followed with a dessert. And this was the best of all - banana cake with chocolate sauce. WE DIED. And then one guy hopefully asked for more, and THERE WAS MORE and we each got an additional slice of cake. We were beyond ecstatic - seriously, you would have thought we won the lottery or something with the reaction that resulted from the second slice of cake.

Fun Facts of the Day:
  • There are two other types of boobies besides the blue-footed one. There's also a red-footed booby and a Nazca booby, though they are not considered endemic. 
  • The female blue-footed boobies are larger than the males, because they have to incubate the eggs and shade them. Boobies typically lay three eggs but unless there is a lot of food available, they only feed the first one. 
  • Charles Darwin visited four of the islands (including Floriana) in 1835.
  • Back then, a lot of the islands were only used as penal colonies - but eventually failed because of the lack of fresh water.

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