In which I practice breathing and swimming simultaneously

Before my first breakfast on board, I went up to sun deck and played guitar for a while. It was the first time that I lamented not having more nautical songs in my repertoire. I saw some birds that were flying along with the boat; I subsequently learned that they were Frigate Birds. In another day or two, I would take some good pictures of them. The pictures I took that morning were not very good because my lens was all fogged up because it was much cooler in my cabin than on the sun deck. When I returned to the cabin, I turned up the A/C. It would turn out not to be much help.

At breakfast I sat with a Brazilian couple who seemed to speak neither Spanish nor English. I also met a couple who had moved to Cuenca, Ecuador a couple years before. He had been a high school technology teacher teacher who had a masters degree in instructional technology. It was not that long ago that I once granted people similar degrees. I was interested to learn that in Cuenca you can buy an apartment for under US$60,000. Alternatively, you can rent a house six blocks out of town for $400/month. Their only regret about moving to Cuenca was that they did not do it fifteen years sooner.

After breakfast, I, with my group, the Boobies, took the zodiac to the big island. We had a “Wet landing,” which meant that they pulled the boat up on the beach as far as they could, but that it was best to just swivel out of the boat and get your feet wet. I went in my Chaco’s, but should have gone barefoot, as that is what our guide did. As per usual, we were greeted by sea lions. One species of sea lions in the Galapagos are are called “seals,” but both species in the Galapagos are, in fact, sea lions. Sea lions have ears, for one thing, not like the elephant seals I saw in Big Sur. We had already seen these cute things a few times, but no one was tired of seeing them.

We walked a little bit to another section of beach where we were given snorkeling instructions. I would learn the next day, that this was not an especially great place for snorkeling, but being able to walk out into the surf and practice breathing through a tube and still be able to see a few fishes was a good way to, uh, get our feet wet.

To convince myself that I was pretty comfortable snorkeling, I kicked around, twice, for over five minutes without pulling my head up out of the water. I then practiced a couple times diving down under the water and blowing the snorkel free of water then I came back up. The next day, I would be happy to have practiced this skill in a place where I could stand up. Once I felt comfortable enough with my snorkeling skills, I took to the beach with my camera.

Look! A lizard! The next day I would learn that it is imprudent to try to photograph every lizard in the Galapagos.

These little red crabs, also known as Sally Lightfoot Crabs, were nearly as ubiquitous as the seals. In some photos you will see that they are darker when they are born, to make them harder for predators to find. I imagine the young ones are especially tasty. When they are older they need to be more colorful to attract mates, or so I suppose.

These birds, oyster catchers to the birders, appeared to be protecting their chick in a motionless kind of way. Like a surprising number of animals in the Galapagos, they do not seem to move just a whole lot. Their orange beaks and feet made it hard to notice their little chick between them. When I walked back by a while later, they were not so close to the chick.

Eventually I took the boat back to the ship where I got a shower, had lunch, and, maybe, a little siesta.

It was a good morning.

Oh, and there are more pictures, that are worth a look.

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