July 9th, 2016


ecuador & the galápagos trip 2016 - part 2: chinese hat, rábida, egas, santiago, seymour, baltra

Galápagos - West, Central and East Islands
part 1 | part 2 | part 3

Day 4 - June 14: Chinese Hat/Isla Rábida
In the morning, the boat arrives at a small uniquely shaped island off the southern tip of Santiago called Chinese Hat. Here it is often possible to see Galápagos penguins, and the marine life is fantastic for snorkelling. There is also a large sea lion colony as well as many marine iguanas that can be seen while walking amongst the volcanic scenery. Trek to see good views of the island's volcano.

Isla Rábida
Arrive at a red sand beach at Rábida to explore its trails. A short trail leads to a saltwater lagoon; another trail goes past the lagoon to the interior, where the revered palo santo trees grow. (When burned, the branches of this tree give off a pleasing aroma and ward off mosquitoes.) Head back to the beach to see prehistoric-looking pelicans nesting among low-lying bushes - it's a rare treat to watch parent pelicans return with gullets full of fish for the squawking youngsters.

breakfast was scheduled for 7am & the first excursion at 8, but neither janet nor i needed an hour to eat, so we didn't roll out of bed until 7, which was great. we set off after eating to a little cove where birds were all over the place, diving for the huge swirling masses of sardines near the water's edge. i saw pelicans, great herons, several blue footed boobies, & tons of frigatebirds, plus sea lions eating big red fish (perhaps soldierfish), & blacktip sharks circling & driving the sardines inland. the zodiac then took us to chinese hat island. we made our way over the fine white sand to the lava rocks & tubes everywhere, & i made my favorite discovery - a tiny racer snake, also called the galápagos snake, who slipped out of view just after i finally got one clear photo of him. i only spotted him because i saw his tiny tail sliding under a rock, & recognized it as longer than a lava lizard's tail would be. so happy!

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