Galapagos Islands Photo Tour Oct 3rd, 2011
Espanola and Gardner Bay
October 3rd, 2011

Monday October 3rd ... Blog Entry the Island of Espanola and Gardner Bay,

Wake up call at 7:00 a.m. and our day begins ... We board the zodiacs for our first landing of the trek, on the Island of Espanola.  The island is part of the Galapagos National Park and very regulated on landings, it is very controlled on the amount of people allowed on land and the amount of time you may remain there.  These are good rules as you can come within inches of the birds and animals as they know no fear of people and the National Parks do not want to stress out these beautiful creatures.

This was what they call a dry landing, in other words there was a small landing area where you could step from the boat onto the island without getting your feet wet.  The group was asked to quickly move to a beach clearing and not stop along the slippery rocks.  You know photographers we still had to grab a couple of shots.

Once we reached the clearing there were sea lions galore, and bonus many little babies and pups.  It was great just to pull the camera from your eye and take in nature at it’s best.  As we followed the shore line, carefully walking over the rocky shoreline we came across many small birds, Marine Iguana’s and Sally Lightfoot Crabs.  Each step was another photo opportunity.

Our naturalist was explaining to the group some interesting facts about the Sally Lightfoot Crab when we observed one with many little bubble like foam underneath it.  They have what’s called an exoskeleton and release their outer shell.  Each time they release the shell and a new one is rejuvenated this fatty foam is produced to help strengthen the bond between the exoskeleton and the outer shell.  He went on to tell us that the mixture of this fatty compound and the calcium rich sand is being studied for possible bone cancer healing properties.

As we crossed the island we went from a mixture of sandy and rock shoreline to a more barren interior crossing over lava rocks and dry brush.  As we came to a small clearing our guide pointed out we had arrived to the nesting area of the Galapagos Albatross.  As you looked into the brush and small clearings there were the baby Galapagos Albatross waiting for their parents to return from the sea with food for them.  I say babies as I write this, but you will see in the images below they grow very quickly.  Their wingspan can reach 11 feet or 3.5 m and they can follow the wind currents for days.  Their only home in Galapagos is Espannola (Hood Island).  When the young are ready to learn how to fly, they only have one chance to get it right as they jump off the high cliffs of the island.  The Albatross can drink sea water, then filters the salt through glands located at the sides of the its eyes.

Our hike carried on past the area of the Albatross to the high cliffs of the opposite side of the island.  What a spectacular view.  We followed the cliff line to the famous island blow hole, located below on the lava rock shore.  The surf here is powerful and forces the water up through a hollow in the rock.  The water can shoot 75 to 100 feet in the air, and the thunderous sound of the force can be heard around the island.

We hiked back to the other side of the island, passing my other species of birds, including the Blue Footed Boobies, Lava Lizards, and Marine Iguana.  You can’t move 5 feet without seeing another photo opportunity.  Our first landing of the trek was amazing.

After the hike and hundreds of images we headed back to the ship for lunch.  While at lunch the ship had a short navigation to the other side of the island to Gardiner Bay.  This afternoon’s landing is what is called a wet landing on the beach among a colony of sea lions where we had plenty of time to explore the shoreline and do some snorkeling.  This was the first place we were able to see the Blue Footed Boobies fishing, that’s something to experience and capture with your camera.

We have had another full day.  Now back onboard the ship it’s dinner time, then a briefing from the naturalists about tomorrow’s excursions.  Tonight we will sail from Espanola to the Island of Floreana to visit Cormorant Point and in the afternoon Post Office Bay.

We will be hours this evening sorting out the many images from todays shoot.  Good night from the Trekkers still anchored off the coast of Esponala Island in the Galapagos.

The map shows where we are now located and the distance we have sailed from our original departure point.



Dan takes the lead as we head across the rocky shore.


A mother and her baby.


American Oyster Catcher walking along the beach.


Heron keeping a close eye as we hike past.


A Sally Lightfoot Crab, note the foam underneath this colourful creature.


Another Sally Lightfoot Crab by the shoreline.


Sea Lion catching the morning sunlight.


A Marine Iguana capturing the warmth from the sun.  They are usually black but during mating season they change into these beautiful colours.


A baby Galapagos Albatross waiting for it’s parents to return with food.


A close up shot ...


Bob getting a few shots of the Albatross as we pass by.


Bonnie has found a nest of adults that has caught her interest.


Two adults by the cliffs of the islands.  They mate for life and do a interesting dance ritual and sparing with their beaks.


Now on the other side of the island the shore line is much more rugged and strong wind currents blow up from below.


Frank capturing the spectacular view.


I’m guessing the sign is for the visitors???


Another Marine Iguana if full colour.  What a good looking guy...


Diane by the cliffs, don’t forget to look down!!!


Another view of the shoreline and the surf below.


This is going into the rainy season on the islands and colour is starting to show through.


Blow hole, water can shoot up 75 to 100 feet.


You can see and hear the power of the surf.


A curious Lava Lizzard pops up to check us out as we walk by.


A great vantage point.


A Blue Footed Booby and her baby.


Feeding time ...


The babies look so soft.


Blue feet, notice the claw like tips.


This is another type of Booby called the Nazca Booby or the Masked Booby.


A view of the feet of the Marine Iguana.


King of the rock.


Frank and Kate ...


Sea Lion with a flipper over one eye, these guys were on and close to the beach during our afternoon landing.


Bill, David and Marilyn checking out the sea lions.


David moves in for a close-up.


Randy taking a shot along the shoreline.


Another close up of a Sea Lion, the sand gets in everywhere ...


Jim coming back from snorkeling.  The water is so clear you can observe many interesting things.


A baby Sea Lion on the beach.


There is a National Park rule that you can only come so close to the animals on the islands, it’s obvious that they don’t have the same rules.


They call it puppy love ...


Bill had found some new friends on the beach.  Watch out guys he might just paint your claws with his black marker!!!


Tom, Bill and Erika checking out the sea turtles swimming close to the coast.


Blue Footed Boobies are amazing fisherman.  They fly along the coast looking for the fish then dive like a dart into the water.  This next series of shots demonstrates this great talent.  Nature is amazing!


Flying along the surface looking for dinner.


Their head is pointed slightly downward looking for the right opportunity.


Starting the dive for the water.


Wings go back as they pick up speed ...


Then they fold the wings right back and it looks like a dart as the dive into the sea.


Brenda photographing a Sea Lion, it’s been a full day of adventure and images.  What a great way to unwind Brenda!


The next few images were shot by one of our photographer guests Diane Weiler, thanks for passing them along for me to post.  Nancy and Terry as we approach land.  Image by Diane Weiler.


Welcome onboard ... check out the reflection in the glasses.  Image by Diane Weiler.


Another shot of our ship the Coral I.  Image by Diane Weiler.


Island flowers.  Image by Diane Weiler.


Paul not wanting his photo taken.  Image by Diane Weiler.
A colourful Land Iguana.  Image by Diane Weiler.
A Yellow Finch.  Image by Diane Weiler.
More island flowers.  Image by Diane Weiler.

Even though it is so barren colour still shows through.  Again thanks Diane for sharing some of your images.  Image by Diane Weiler.


Since this was our first full day on the ship, the captain hosted a Welcome BBQ on the Skydeck.  Linda, Kate and Frank can be seen in the foreground.  Linda did you get in front of Bill on purpose??  This was also a beautiful location to watch the sunset.  Great food too.


Bill and Lorna getting their dinner, Sandi in the background checking out the setting sun.


Lorna and Bill, Randy and Tom in the background.  Tom looks like it’s a hard decision on what to choose.


I knew it would happen sooner or later ...  Brenda and Erika were creative and surprised me one more time ... this time dressing up as Blue Footed Boobies.  Great job girls, it’s always great fun when you are along.


Well that’s it for today’s post ... We will leave you with this Mocking Bird shot.  Tonight we sail to the Island of Floreana.  There is one more pic below of the map showing tonights navigation and our location for tomorrow.



Tags : GalapagosTour

Please add a comment

Posted by Shari on
What awesome photos! Can't wait until tomorrow to see day 3!
Posted by Ross Blakey on
Posted by Patti on
Well those Blue Footed Boobies are really something! What incredible nature. What captures! Brilliant.