Going to the Galapagos for Class Part 2
If you were following my previous post, you know that I went to the Galapagos as part of the Evolution class I took last term.
In the afternoon of the second day, we visited a beautiful little cove, with a lot of frigatebirds and boobies nesting. The male frigatebirds have a red sac on their breast that they can blow air into to attract females. Whenever a female flies overhead, they start to warble, shake their head and sac back and forth, and flap their wings. It’s pretty amusing and also amazing :) There was also a yellow-crested night heron drying off on a rock, baby sea lions playing in the water, and adult sea lions sunning themselves on the beach. We also went snorkeling in this cove, just walking out straight from the beach
The next island we visited was the island of Santiago, where there was a very young lava field. Most of it was pahoehoe lava, which is this ropy, wavy looking lava, and we could spot some lava lizards scuttling around. All the islands of the Galapagos were created by volcanoes beneath the ocean floor, so the greenery has all grown on lava fields like this after hundreds or thousands of years of pioneer species (small plants and lichen) have degraded and turned into soil.
At the same island, we snorkeled and saw penguins swimming in the water with us! We did a lot of snorkeling on the trip, almost every day and sometimes several times a day.
We went snorkeling off of Rabida and saw many white-tipped reef sharks. There were maybe 4-5 swimming below us, circling a particular rock, and there were a few swimming further away from the rock. We also spotted sea turtles, and the most amazing part was that three sea lions swam right past me while I was snorkeling! Sea lions are very curious, and extremely fast in the water, so it was just amazing to see.