Galápagos Adventure Santiago and Rábida Islands August 11, 2016

30 Aug
48Santiago map

Please click on an image if you wish to enlarge it

Spaniards mined salt from Santiago in the 12800s and by various companies in the 1920s and 1960s. But we went there to see huge pahoeoe and a’a lava flows as well as explore the beach and snorkel. Pahoehoe is basaltic lava that has a smooth, billowy, undulating or ropy surface. These surface features are due to the movement of very fluid lava under a congealing surface crust. A’a is basaltic lava characterized by a rough or rubbly surface composed of broken lava blocks called clinker. We didn’t see much a’a on Santiago, but did get to see some on Rábida. I was interested to find out that pahoehoe and a’a are of Hawaiian origin and are accepted geologic terms.

We landed on the gray pahoehoe band began to walk around checking out various designs in the lava. All of a sudden Erick pointed to a penguin that was on shore and moving toward the water. By the time I got my camera ready, he was in the water. This was my best shot…at least you can see the head. I think I do better with land shots.

A Galapagos penguin

A Galapagos penguin

Folks trying to see the penguin

Folks trying to see the penguin

There were so many patterns in the lava and I took many pictures. But I’ll only list a few here so as not to bore you too much.

There were so many patterns in the lava and I took many pictures.

This formation is called an oven or hornitos. You might call it a burst bubble

This formation is called an oven or hornitos. You might call it a burst bubble

Shirley and I are standing in front of lava with different colored minerals showing.

Shirley and I are standing in front of lava with different colored minerals showing.

You would think that nothing would be growing in this vast lava field. But, surprisingly, “pioneer” plants begin a precarious existence here and there.

You would think that nothing would be growing in this vast lava field. But, surprisingly, “pioneer” plants begin a precarious existence here and there.

We spent quite a while on the lava field learning about different types and seeing so many different patterns. Some of our ladies were trying to figure out how to incorporate those patterns into weaving or dying. Too complicated for me. I’ll leave that to the artistic folks.

BOB (Back on Board), we grabbed a snack provided by our faithful bartender/waiter, Fabián. Then several people changed into snorkeling gear and rode off to deep water snorkel alongside the lava field. I didn’t go because I didn’t think I’d see much wildlife due to an overcast sky. It’s usually better when there is a bright sky. Big mistake. They saw sea turtles, penguins and other good stuff. However, Shirley went and became so cold that she was shaking uncontrollably at the end. Luckily, there was hot water in the shower when she got back to the boat to help her warm up.  In contrast to that, it must have been the luck of the draw, but I never got a hot shower while on board.  Oh well, I was no worse for the wear.

Snorklers on their way

Snorklers on their way

I chose to walk along the beach and enjoyed myself there. When our Zodiac neared the shore, a sea lion pup reared his head, just like a dog when his family comes home. The pup slipped into the water and came to meet the boat. When we disembarked and were standing on the shore, he swam back and forth in front of us, as if to say, “Come play with me!”

The greeter. He was so darned cute!

The greeter. He was so darned cute!

 A view of Bartolome Island and The Pinnacle on the left from Sullivan Bay. Bartolome was just across a small strait

A view of Bartolome Island and The Pinnacle on the left from Sullivan Bay. Bartolome was just across a small strait

This is a Sally Lightfoot crab and the next picture is its tracks

This is a Sally Lightfoot crab and the next picture is its tracks.

140crab tracks

BOB (Back on Board), our boat drivers put the Zodiacs on board the big ship and we left to go to Rábida Island.

BOB (Back on Board), our boat drivers put the Zodiacs on board the big ship and we left to go to Rábida Island.

Rábida Island is one of the most colorful and volcanically varied islands in the archipelago. It’s noted for its maroon colored beach, sea lions and pelican nesting sites.

There are no tortoises or land iguanas on Rábida, so the cacti can grow their leaves (nopales) down to the ground. They also have soft needles that almost feel like hair. They don’t poke the skin. Islands with the iguanas and tortoises have cacti adapted to have sharp needles and no leaves close to the ground. An example of how critters and plants have adapted to the island conditions.

There are no tortoises or land iguanas on Rábida, so the cacti can grow their leaves (nopales) down to the ground. They also have soft needles that almost feel like hair. They don’t poke the skin. Islands with the iguanas and tortoises have cacti adapted to have sharp needles and no leaves close to the ground. An example of how critters and plants have adapted to the island conditions.

Erick and Pato went barefooted except on trails with boulders and sharp rocks. There was no way my tenderfeet could do that.

Erick and Pato went barefooted except on trails with boulders and sharp rocks. There was no way my tender feet could do that.

Plants appear to grow directly out of the rocks. It’s amazing to me how they can grow in their tiny niche and thrive.

Plants appear to grow directly out of the rocks. It’s amazing to me how they can grow in their tiny niche and thrive.

A nursing sea lion pup

A nursing sea lion pup

166Galapagos mockingbird

We were warned about Galápagos mockingbirds because of their curiosity and desire to get water from visitors’ water bottles. I didn’t hear them sing, but I would imagine they have their special tunes they sing to their mates.

A preening pelican in her nest.

A preening pelican in her nest.

I love the sun!

I love the sun!

166Galapagos mockingbird

We were warned about Galápagos mockingbirds because of their curiosity and desire to get water from visitors’ water bottles. I didn’t hear them sing, but I would imagine they have their special tunes they sing to their mates.

Several frigate birds soared alongside the Galaven while we were sailing . A good thing to remember would be to not open your mouth while they were overhead.

Several frigate birds soared alongside the Galaven while we were sailing . A good thing to remember would be to not open your mouth while they were overhead.

We were told there would be whales to see while underway on this steretch of the ocean, but Shirley was the only person to sight one.

We were told there would be whales to see while underway on this stretch of the ocean, but Shirley was the only person to sight one.

My memory is probably faulty on the exact day, but I believe our overnight journey from Rábida to Santa Cruz is when many of us became quite ill with the mal de mer, myself included. The seas were quite rough and the boat was really tossing to and fro. You know I had to be sick to skip a meal. Shirley was a real sailor and didn’t suffer any ill effects. The rest of us were ok the next morning for our terrific journey ashore on Santa Cruz Island. That was a real treat of a day and will be in the the next episode.

One Response to “Galápagos Adventure Santiago and Rábida Islands August 11, 2016”

  1. Connie Raub August 31, 2016 at 7:01 am #

    Another great note from The Buzzard! Your pictures are so fun to see. The lava does have beautiful designs. I would be anxious to see if your “crafty” friends did something with those ideas. Sorry you were sick for a while. Not fun! Thanks for expanding the Galapagos with us! Love, Connie

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