Here's part 2 of my trip to the Galapagos Islands and after a couple of questions last week I do wish to state that all the photos below are either mine or Helen's. Yes, you really do get that close to the wildlife!
My last trip of the year began last week and I'm heading to Cannes, France for a prestigious luxury travel event and conference, ILTM. It's important for us to keep extending our number of relationships with suppliers whether that's individual hotel sales directors or General Managers or in-country tour and activity companies called DMCs (destination management companies). A few years ago I may have been just stood in a corner in awe, but this previously shy Englishman has come out of his shell and is now much more comfortable conversing with my peers. Just to talk about travel brings me joy.
Top 5 - The Galapagos Islands part 2
1. Frigates (above and below)
Frigate birds are pterodactyl-like and soar effortlessly with hardly a flap, using their deeply forked tail to steer. Watching a Frigatebird float in the air is truly magnificent. These master aerialists are also pirates of the sky, stealing food from other birds in midair. Males have a bright red pouch on the throat, which they inflate like a balloon to attract females. Females unlike most other seabirds look different than males with their white chest.
Check out my second photo below which looks surreal. This was 2 frigate birds fighting just a foot or 2 above my head on the canopy of the top deck of our catamaran.
2. Sally Lightfoot Crabs (above and below)
Well, you can't miss the adults that's for sure though the young remain harder to spot. Adult crabs show characteristic intense blue and red colouring on their shells, with a white or pale blue underbelly. Younger crabs have darker colouration with red spots, providing a higher degree of camouflage until the shells become larger and almost impenetrable to birds. Every time the crabs moult their shell, the spots become gradually larger, until they obtain the adult colouring.
3. Galapagos Penguins (above and below)
The Galapagos penguin is one of the smallest penguins in the world and is the most northerly occurring penguin species, nesting entirely in the tropics, with some colonies living on the northern tip of Isabela just in the Northern Hemisphere. Galapagos penguins live in caves and crevices in the coastal lava and they are extremely agile under water, reaching speeds of 35 km per hour when hunting. I can attest to this as during one of our snorkel expeditions we were treated to 5 friendly penguins hurtling between us all.
4. Land Iguanas
I guess they are outshone a little by their compatriot marine iguanas who have that extra ability to dive and swim, but the land version makes up for it with some brighter coloring. The Galapagos land iguana is one of three species of land iguana endemic to the Galapagos Islands and their skin is generally yellow with white, black and brown blotches. They have a short head and powerful hind legs with sharp claws on their toes, but despite their intimidating appearance they are primarily herbivores – feeding on prickly pear leaves and fruit. These large cold-blooded reptiles have an interesting mutual relationship with finches – which can often be seen sitting on their backs, picking ticks from between their scales.
5. Landscape (2 photos above and 2 below)
I haven't nearly covered all the wildlife we experienced in the last 2 ezines, but I would be remiss to neglect featuring the landscapes of these islands. From an almost barren immense lava field to lush mountain slopes so rich in soil that almost anything can be grown, to spotless deserted beaches, it was simply an honor just to set foot in Galapagos National Park and for anyone who is a nature lover I urge you to visit soon.
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