Sea Lions, Iguanas and Blue-Footed Boobies, Oh My!


Just returned from the Galapagos–what a trip! no, it was not just a trip–it was an adventure, a discovery, a revelation. The animals are not afraid of you–you probably look like another Giant Tortoise to them. They don’t move away but you’re not permitted to touch them.  In the ocean 600 miles away from Ecuador, this archipelago holds the secret of evolution, adaptation and survival of the fittest. We set foot where Charles Darwin did and came to understand why he wrote “The Origin of Species” 20 years later. Each island has a different species of the same animal because it adapted to different conditions there. But of course only he figured out the “why.”

I am the world’s worst photographer but even I couldn’t help coming up with some gems. After all, when the animals just sit there waiting for you to take a picture, you can’t miss.  Here are some of my favorites:

The Nazca Booby, (I walked for an hour and a half over boulders to see them),IMG_0140IMG_0136the Giant Galapagos Tortoise seen in one of Rory’s photos, one Diego by name, who single-handedly repopulated one island’s extinct tortoise population with 2,000 progeny,

Galapagos 2015 - Diego Rory 249the albatross (courtesy of Rory), from the world’s largest–perhaps only population of 12,000–with a 7-foot wingspan, and no, it doesn’t only mean a burden–it really is a bird; Rory walked 2 and a half hours over boulders to see them,

Galapagos 2015 - albatross Rory 135the small Galapagos Penguin, in the Galapagos by way of the cold Humboldt, currently sharing a rock with some marine iguanas,

IMG_0397The iconic Blue-Footed Booby (I now have a BFB t-shirt, a BFB apron, and of course BFB earrings–just their feet in blue)

IMG_0428IMG_0419a pair of marine iguana buddies (Rory’s pic)Galapagos 2015 - Rory 217

and everybody’s favorite–the sea lions. They wanted to play, or sleep, or ignore us, but we had to keep eight feet away. It was hard when they were only a few hours old and this cute:

IMG_0166Galapagos 2015 - Rory 046and here’s one of Rory trying NOT to play with this pup, complete with my thumbGalapagos 2015 - Rory 095 Celebrity Cruises brought us there, treated us like royalty and provided the kind of naturalist talks and preparation for this once-in-a-lifetime trip that we relished.It was strenuous and it was not cheap, but if you love animals, put this on your bucket list.

And here is a quote from Darwin that we might do well to remember: It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

 

 

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