Galapagos Diary

This is my Galapagos Trip diary. No emotions or feelings rubbish, just pure facts.

Selected photos on the right correspond to the particular days, but the full set of photos, grouped by day, can be found here.

And a very short video capturing some of my underwater video clips can be found here on YouTube.


Galapagos Day 1

Left Quito very early and flew to Baltra Isla via Guayaquil. Was on the boat in the Galapagos by midday for lunch. Amazing first day - went walking along Bachas beach on Santa Cruz.

Saw Sally Light Foot Crabs, Marine Iguanas, Pelicans, Flamingos, Frigate Birds, American Oyster Catcher, Sanderling, Great Blue Heron, Lava Lizard.

After that, some practise snorkeling. Very warm water, lots of fish, but a bit murky in by the beach. Still, got some initial underwater shots.


Galapagos Day 2

Overnight, we sailed to Tower Island. A big cresent island formed from the top of a volcano. We sailed right into the middle.

05:30am start to watch the sun rise and then onto the island for 08:00. Saw Galapagos Sea Lions, Frigate Birds, Red Footed Boobie, Nazca Booby, Yellow Throated Night Heron, Galapagos Doves, Mockingbirds, Hermit Crabs, Red Billed Tropic Birds.

Late morning, lots of snorkeling, lots more fish. Some slightly better underwater photos.

After lunch, late afternoon, back to a different part of the island for Short Eared Owl hunting. Found a couple and got very close to one who had lost one eye, although he still seemed very effective at collecting Storm Petrels.


Galapagos Day 3

Got up at 05:30 again to watch sunrise. Sailed to Marchena Island for a day of snorkeling. It's an island that the majority of boats don't go to, so we were the only ones there. Saw lots of Dolphins on the way.

The snorkeling was very impressive. Swam with lots of fish, Fur Seals, Rays and a Hammerhead Shark. Water was clearer, at least in places, so managed to get a few decent shots. And in a CreamyGoodness first, I tried taking a video of a Fur Seal playing in front of me. Lots to improve on, but it's quite difficult holding the camera still while you're bobbing about and the seal is shooting about all over the place.

In the evening, sailed around to the west coast of Isabela for sunset. On the way, saw Pilot Whales.


Galapagos Day 4

06:00am boat ride to look for Turtles and Flightless Cormorants at sunrise. Saw lots, but difficult to photograph in the low light.

After breakfast, landed on the northern most part of Isabela. Lots of really big Marine Iguanas and Lava Lizards. Played with some HDR photography. Off the coast, spotted a single Galapagos Penguin and 3 Killer Whales. Distant photos taken.

Then back to the boat for a quick swim and then lunch. After lunch headed south over the equator for snorkelling around Isabela.

In the afternoon, snorkelled with Turtles and a few Penguins. Tried filming both underwater with some success, but the photos came out alright.

And then finally, another boat ride out to watch the Blue Footed Boobies and baby Fur Seals playing in the surf. Also saw Magnificent Frigate birds, Brown Noddys and Pelicans.


Galapagos Day 5

This morning we were at Fernandina - the smaller island next to Isabella. Breakfast at 06:00 then straight on to the island while the sun was still low and not too hot. Huge clusters of Marine Iguanas blowing salt out of their noses.

Also, a couple of Galapagos Hawks flying around and feeding off a dead Sea Lion. Some interesting Lava Cactus and lava formations too, making for good HDR photos.

Later in the morning, back to boat and then snorkeling. More Sea Turtles and an underwater Marine Iguana feeding off the algae. Managed to get a few shots, and even a short video.

After lunch, sailed back back to Isabella, and off for a walk in the afternoon. Saw our first Land Iguanas and a couple of Giant Tortoises heading towards the beach. And a collection of Warblers, Flycatchers and Finches.

Got a photo of the sunset as we sailed south to the bottom of Isabella for the night.


Galapagos Day 6

Started the morning in Elizabeth Bay on the island of Isabella. At 06:00am trip out into the mangroves. Saw two types of Rays (Golden Cownose and Spotted Eagle) - forgot to take underwater camera, so no photos. Also, lots of Turtles.

After breakfast, a snorkel through the lava tubes. Weird oily looking water caused by the mixing of sea water and fresh water in amongst the lava. Again, lots of turtles. Also some interesting new fishes such as a Puffer Fish.

After lunch we sailed round the island a bit to Punta Moreno for a walk on the lava fields. Penguins on the way. There are a few small green lakes within the lava field - home to Flamingoes and Ani.

In the evening, a rocky sail round the bottom of Isabela on the way to Floreana.


Galapagos Day 7

Spent the morning at Floreana. We were driven up to the highlands amongst the volcanos. Lots of greenery, very hot, very humid. Saw a good variety of finches, some fly catchers and warblers.

Lunch at the house of some of the few people who live on the island (about 150 people in total).

After lunch some snorkelling - fish and turtles, a couple of photos taken.

And then a long sail back to Santa Cruz in the late afternoon ready for the swap over day tomorrow (at the end of week 1 (north and west islands) everyone else is leaving with a new group joining for week 2 (south and east islands).


Galapagos Day 8

A day in Santa Cruz - Puerto Ayora. In the morning, went up in to the highlands (very rainy) to visit a Galapagos sugar cane and coffee farm. Interesting enough, but little wildlife. Then on to another old farm, where wild Giant Tortoises roam about. Got a couple of nice photos of butterflies. Also, there were a pair of barn owls, plus one chick, living in one of the out buildings, so got a photo of one of the adults (very dark, no flash, long exposure, so not pin-sharp, but okay).

After lunch in a restaurant in the highlands, went down into the town to visit the Darwin Centre. Saw Lonesome George - an old tortoise found on one of the islands, and the last of his species.


Galapagos Day 9

Another day in Floreana today, but around the coast a little from a couple of days ago.

Watched the sunrise and the Blue Footed Boobies diving, then a walk on the island to find Flamingos, Plovers and baby Stingrays. Saw quite a few.

After that, a short Zodiac ride around a tiny island (Champion) to find the Charles Mockingbird - only a few tens of them left in the world. We saw about 4, and got a photo.

Then snorkelling before lunch. Big group of Sealions. Difficult to photograph, but got some intersting video.

After lunch it was around the coast a bit to visit Post Office Bay. Boobies, Penguins, Marine Iguanas and lots of Cattle Egrets. After visiting the actual Post Office box we had a quick swim in the bay and saw two baby Hammerhead Sharks. About one foot long but exactly the same proportions as a full sized version - very strange seeing them swimming around in the shallows.

Over night, sailing to Espanola Island.


Galapagos Day 10

Espanola. 05:00am start, breakfast at 06:00 and left the boat at 06:30 for a long walk at Punta Suarez. Very hot, but saw lots of Albatross. Also a variety of Espanola Lava Lizards, Christmas Iguanas (Marine Iguanas that have some interesting skin colours) and a snake. And Espanola Mocking Birds - unique to the island but quite similar looking to the other types of Mocking Bird.

After that, but before lunch, snorkelling around Gardner Bay. Lots of fish and a few Sea Lions. I tracked some sort of Ray for about 10 seconds under water thinking I was videoing it, only to realise the camera was turned off.

After lunch, landed on Gardner Bay beach amongst a huge colony of Sea Lions. Lots of photos taken, but the light was slightly harsh.

Then sailing on to Saint Cristobal Island in the afternoon. Nice sunset and a few Dolphins swimming around the boat - jumping really high, but quite tricky to photograph. And the Dolphins jumping resulted in a huge splash into the boat soaking my camera. It's taking quite a hammering this holiday with the sand, salt and high humidity.


Galapagos Day 11

A day around San Cristobal. Started with a short walk around Isla Lobos - a very small island separated from the main island. Lots of Blue Footed Boobies displaying. Also managed to get the pretty much perfect shot of a Yellow Warbler in flight. Very happy.

After that, a snorkel around Kicker rock to look for sharks. None spotted, but saw a few new fish. No great photos.

In the afternoon the boat sailed round to Punta Pitt. A hike up the hills for the views. Lots of opportunity for HDR photos of Lava Lizards in front of pretty backdrops. So that's what I did, almost exclusively.

Then, late afternoon, sailing for Santa Fe. Beer.


Galapagos Day 12

Santa Fe - anchored in a shallow bay, watched Rays and Puffer Fish as the sun rose. An early walk on Santa Fe hunting for the Rice Rat, but no luck. But saw lots of the endemic Santa Fe and Iguana. Also Finches, Mockingbirds and crabs. A bit cloudy, so not great photos, but tried for some crab detail photos.

After the walk, snorkelling. Most of the normal fish, but also a shark. And not a friendly shark, but a Galapagos shark which likes Sea Lions and the occasional snorkeller. So we left the water.

Over lunch, sailed to South Plaza for a walk. Loads of Land Iguanas. And some intertesting cross-bred Land-Marine Iguanas. Also Tropic Birds, Shearwaters and Swallow Tailed Gulls.

And then more snorkelling. Saw sharks - White Tipped Reef Sharks - and a S potted Eagle Ray. Very pleased to get some shots and video of both.


Galapagos Day 13

Overnight, sailed to the tiny island of Bartolome of the larger island of Santiago. An early walk on the lava fields before the sun got too hot. No animals, interesting lava patterns. So obviously, HDR photos.

Then snorkelling in Sullivan Bay between the two islands. Very still and clear water and some interesting fish. Three different types of Puffer Fish, Sharks and Stingrays. Got some nice photos of all of these and a short video of the Stingray.

Quite a break over lunch, with more snorkelling at 15:00 along the edge of Bartolome. A few interesting Puffer Fish that I managed to photograph, a couple more Sharks and Stingrays. Also, swimming with Penguins.

Finally, walked up to the top of Bartolome in the late afternoon - a classic view of the Galapagos. Nice HDR opportunity.


Galapagos Day 14

Early morning hike along James Bay, Santigao, before breakfast. Marine Iguanas, interesting reflections, and a new butterfly - the Queen Butterfly.

Snorkelling after that along the coast near by. Some sharks and a Turrle. And of course, loads of fish. Saw an interesting looking Sea Slug type thing that I am 90 percent sure is responsible for some of the cuts I have on my thumb.

After lunch, walk on the smaller island of Rabida. Flamingos and at long last a Vermillion Fly Catcher. Very pretty bird.

Then another Snorkel. Another Sea Slug.

Then final evening on board - beer and cocktails. Saw huge Manta Rays leaping out of the water in the distance. Managed to capture a very brief photo.


Galapagos Day 15

A final last walk before breakfast. On Seymour island. Loads of Blue Footed Boobies and Frigate Birds, so a good opportunity to try and capture the classic shot of a Boobie coming in to land feet up. Some shots came out okay.

Then finally off the boat and transfer to Santa Cruz to our hotel. The town a little touristy, but some very nice spots. The fishing boats moor right up along the main road, the fish get unloaded and filleted right there, and the Pelicans, Frigate Birds and Sea Lions fight for the scraps.

Nice Octopus Carpaccio for lunch.

After lunch, wandered round the town, drank beer. After dinner, got a bit obsessed with photographing Geckos in the dark around our hotel room. Weird little things.


Galapagos Day 16

Final full day in the Galapagos, still on Santa Cruz. Decided to walk to the beach in the morning for a swim, and to try and get photos of two things I've seen loads of, but failed to capture on camera - Ghost Crabs and Cattle Egrets. Ghost Crabs are particularly interesting - very sensitive to vibrations in the sand, but when they do come out they either make little balls of sand, or dump great big piles of sand and then pat them down with their claws no idea why. Anyway, it was a long walk, but found them both and got the photos.

Big lunch and wine - Seafood Cerviche was very good. Soup of raw cold seafood.

After lunch wandered around town and bought things. Big dinner in the evening. More seafood.


Galapagos Map Galapagos Route Map

SLCrab Crab Day 1

Flamingo Flamingo Day 1

Marine Iguana Marine Iguana Day 1

Pelican Pelican Day 1

Frigate Bird Frigate Bird Day 2

Fish Fish Day 2


Dolphin Dolphin Day 3

Fur Seal Fur SealDay 3

Hammerhead Hammerhead Day 3

Tropical Rock Lobster Rock Lobster Day 3

Cactus Cactus Day 4

Kille rWhale Killer Whale Day 4

Marine Iguana Marine Iguana Day 4

Turtle Turtle Day 4

Galapagos Hawk Galapagos Hawk Day 5

Cactus HDR Cactus Day 5

Samba Samba Day 5

Sunset Sunset Day 5

Sunrise Sunrise Day 6

HDR Volvano HDR Volvano Day 6

Penguins Penguins Day 6

Turtle Turtle Day 6

Sunrise Sunrise Day 7

Finch Finch Day 7

HDR Tree HDR Tree Day 7

Barn Owl Barn Owl Day 8

Sulphur Butterfly Sulphur Butterfly Day 8

Lonesome George Lonesome George Day 8

Sun Rise Sun Rise Day 9

Diving Boobie Diving Boobie Day 9

HDR Post Office Bay Post Office Bay Day 9

Mockingbird Mockingbird Day 9

Sealion Sealion Day 9

Albatross Albatross Day 10

Christmas Iguana Christmas Iguana Day 10

Fish Fish Day 10

Tessa Sea Lion Tessa SeaLion Day 10

Dolphin Dolphin Day 10

Blue Footed Boobie Blue Footed Boobie Day 11

Yellow Warbler Yellow Warbler Day 11

HDR Lizards HDR Lizards Day 11

Santa Fe Iguana Santa Fe Iguana Day 12

Crab Crab Day 12

Shark Shark Day 12

Spotted Eagle Ray Spotted Eagle Ray Day 12

HDR Lava HDR Lava Day 13

Fish Fish Day 13

Bartolome Bartolome Day 13

Galapagos Hawk Galapagos Hawk Day 14

Queen Butterfly Queen Butterfly Day 14

Sea Slug Sea Slug Day 14

Vermillion Fly Catcher Vermillion FC Day 14

Sunrise Sunrise Day 15

Boobie Landing Boobie Landing Day 15

Frigate Birds Frigate Birds Day 15

Gecko Gecko Day 15

Cattle Egret Cattle Egret Day 16

Ghost Crab Ghost Crab Day 16

Finch Finch Day 16

James on Beach James Day 16

Friend's Sites

MutanT - - - - - Neil and Kristen - - - - - JFWildlife

CreamyGoodness Handy Website Links

D P Review Site - - - - - Bird Forums - - - - - Luminous Landscape

Cartoon Links

Exploding Dog - - - - - Weebl And Bob - - - - - Dilbert

CreamyGoodness Page Validation Links

Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!