North Seymour Island and Santa Fe Island (day 5) & Floreana Island (day 6)

A male frigate bird inflates his red pouch (gular pouch) to attract a mate on North Seymour Island.

We started the morning by touring North Seymour Island, known for its nesting frigate population.

This yellow land iguana is being cleaned of dry skin and parasites by finches. Our guide was very excited when he saw this and said you don’t get to see this often.

After our frigate bird observations we again donned our wetsuits and snorkeled along the shore of the same island. The water was cool and choppy. Our best sighting today was a spotted eagle ray.

Lunch on board the Evolution.

Back onboard we took a hot shower and sat down for lunch. Lunch usually includes a discussion of the mornings snorkel sightings.

After lunch we repositioned to Santa Fe Island for kayaking and a nature walk.

Looking at the sea lions from the kayak as they look at us.
On the kayaks in a sheltered bay on Santa Fe Island.

We saw a lot of turtles and sharks while kayaking.

Following the lagoon kayak, we landed on the beach of Santa Fe Island for our nature walk. As we sat on the rocks and put on our walking shoes, a sea lion pup emerged from the rocks. Like all the pups, it showed no fear, only curiosity.

Santa Fe Island is also called Barrington Island. Our guides told us the islands have several names, and one even has seven. Santa Fe is one of the oldest islands, having been formed from an uplift instead of a volcanic eruption. That makes the island flat, instead of conical. We walked through rocky terrain and a cactus forest. Alex said some of these cactus are over 200 years old.

200 year old cactus forest.
Alex, our naturalist guide, photographs a Santa Fe land iguana.
A sea lion relaxes on the top rock while the Evolution is anchored in the background.
The crew surprised Tucker with a cake and a round of “Happy Birthday.”

Today we started on Floreana Island. The bay is called Post Office Bay.

From our itinerary package:

In 1793 British whalers set up a barrel as the islands post office, to send letters home on passing ships. The tradition continues to this day, simply by dropping a post card into the barrel without a stamp. The catch is you must take a post card from the barrel and see that it gets to the right place.

I dropped 2 postcards in the barrel; one to Maine and one to Oregon. I picked out 4 postcards to deliver; two to Portland, Oregon, one to Salem, Oregon and one to Seattle.

We had two opportunities to snorkel today and we did them both. Our first swim was in Post Office Bay. We saw many turtles feeding in the rocks. It was the best turtle snorkel yet.

Our second snorkel was around a small island very close to Floreana called Champion Islet. It is billed as “one of the top snorkeling sites the Galápagos offering prime underwater sea lion interactions.” We can vouch for that. We swam with pups and year old sea lions. It was great. These two snorkeling experiences were the best of the trip. We saw turtles, sharks, and had some very close encounters with sea lions.

King angel fish.
Lennie and me after our last snorkel of the trip.

After two wonderful snorkel experiences we had lunch and repositioned to a different side of the same island of Floreana. We took a panga to the beach. Walking a rocky trail onto yet another beach we came upon a stretch of sand where two smaller sea turtles were struggling. Judging from the tracks, the turtles had come up on the beach and then turned around to go back into the sea. One was close to the water and slowly making progress. The other sea turtle was higher up on the sand and stopped. She looked exhausted. Several of our group picked her up and set her closer to the water. We watched as she made her way back to the safety of the sea.

On a beach on Floreana Island, the Galápagos.
A Sally lightfoot crab and reflection on Floreana Island as the sun nears the horizon.
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5 Responses to North Seymour Island and Santa Fe Island (day 5) & Floreana Island (day 6)

  1. Teresa Favazza says:

    Great underwater shots of fish, turtles and seals looks like you had great time! Those cactus trees are incredible. Keep sending the pics

  2. augie's says:

    Didn”t know you could get good under water photos. You’re having a great snorkeling adventure.

  3. Hisae says:

    You make me envy you to death! We had not had vacation for 2 decades and it has become even more difficult to go somewhere because of our fragile, needy old cat. I hope the post card you sent to Seattle was for me!

  4. Tucker Campion says:

    “A picture says a thousand words” and these are just 5% of the pictures we took. An amazing time!

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