Thursday, August 8, 2013

Darwin's animals!

Darwin's animals, white sand and black lava

There is something grand and terrible about a night aboard a boat while undergoing gale wind and wave conditions... The trick is not to fight the motion... but to go along with it and relax.. The wild gyrations took us up and down. side to side, and back and forth. All I can say is, "thank goodness" for the "behind the ear" chemical patch. We woke this morning anchored in a quiet bay overlooking the high stone cliffs of San Cristobal.

Life aboard the boat takes on a daily rhythm. The islands are so varied in geology, climate conditions, and life forms; that it is necessary to travel quite a lot to get a real sense of what is here.

Even in the Galapagos human activity is changing the ecosystem. Land iguanas live by eating cactus alone. The number of iguanas is controlled by large hawks. The ranchers who keep livestock on some of the islands shoot hawks on sight to protect their animals (Not effective... ), with reduced hawks, iguana population increases, and the number of cactus plants each year is being reduced... One island we visited yesterday had virtually no new cactus plants because they were being eaten by the iguanas. Our naturalist guide told us that the cactus and land iguanas may well both become extinct from some islands with in a few decades.

It's curious to me that there are relatively few species of plant and animal life In the Galapagos..Great effort has been made to eliminate all introduced species, that would take valuable resources from the naturally occurring species.

Tuesday morning ...we were in the boats ready for a landing by 7:45AM was a beach with the whitest coral sand and the blackest lava flows species of crab, one type of finches, the salt water iguanas...they were all exactly the black color of the lava. It was great location both to hike and to snorkel. Once more we shared the beach with sea lions,finches,sea iguanas, and various other birds.