Yesterday was an exciting day. Despite getting up before 5am, sadly, I had not beaten the roosters – they were already going crazy. Until we meet again, roosters…
We caught our boat from Isabela back to Santa Cruz – the water was rough as ever. As soon as we got on land – at about 8am, Marina and I were on a mission to try and get on a tour to North Seymour island that was happening on that day – and likely had already started. We also had to find a place to stay for the night. Marina ran over to see Michel, our preferred tour booking agent on the island, while I ran over to see Esther at Hotel Espana with both of our bags to try and get a room. Both of us succeeded, and within 20 mins of getting off a boat, our luggage was resting safely in a room at Hotel Espana, while we were in a taxi arranged by Michel speeding to the northern port of Santa Cruz to catch up with the tour that had already departed 30 mins before.
As I think I alluded to before, I was particularly interested in seeing the blue-footed boobies up close, and specifically doing their mating dance. On North Seymour, my wish finally came true.
It was amazing.
The male blue-footed boobie, which is smaller in body size and has smaller pupils than the female, would fly up to a single female and attempt to ‘pick her up’. First, he would make a weird whistling sound. This was followed by a spreading and awkward contortion of the wings and generalized shaking. The final step was a slow and soft dance, with alternating feet. If the female liked the performance, she would come closer to the desperate male. The whole thing would end with the boobies ‘kissing’ – or more accurately clicking their open beaks together while the male whistled and the female groaned. Keep in mind when all this was happening we were literally a few feet away. We also saw the result of this fancy courting in terms of female boobies incubating their single egg.
The red frigate birds were also phenomenal. As were the many baby sea lions that would approach us begging for some food. Due to the warm climate, while life for land-based animals is sweet, the water-based animals are having a tough time. The poor little sea lions are unfortunately in the latter category. Some of them were particularly skinny, and malnourished looking.
In the afternoon, we snorkeled with a baby shark (Marina screamed under water when we first came across it), some parrot fish, and a small sting ray. Finally, we got to watch an absolutely gigantic group of about 200-300 blue-footed boobies diving for fish. For some reason they were diving very close to shore, which made it almost overwhelming to watch – they were literally flying around our heads. And these are not small birds.
We got our tickets for San Cristobal and will be departing in a couple of hours to our last Gallapagos island.
We’re off to get lunch – hopefully it stays down during the always exciting boat ride.
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