Galapagos: Islas Encantadas

Editor Note: View all videos on full screen.

The Galapagos Islands truly are enchanted, often I felt like I was walking in a dream and wondering whether it was really real.
Lawrence Wade

I have never been in an area where such care is taken to preserve and restore the natural habitat. The authorities encourage people to visit, but the number of people and the places they can visit are carefully controlled so there are never large crowds in the uninhabited areas.
Robert Sable

Photo by Carol S. Wade

Video by Carol S. Wade

It was an amazing experience being around animals who had no fear of humans. We could easily get within 6 feet of most of them.
Lawrence Wade

Photo by Alan Sable

Advice from a Giant Tortoise
Access your ancient wisdom
Listen deeper
The Earth is your mother

Move slowly, everything will be accomplished
Your past will only pull you back, keep growing, live now.

Speaking of the past history of Giant Tortoises…
Up to 200,000 Giant Tortoises were taken by whalers and pirates from the Galapagos Is. They were stored upside down in the hull of their ships for up to a year and eaten for food. On Española Island, researchers from the Darwin Center found a remnant population of tortoises ( 2 males, 14 females). The Darwin Center was also able to reclaim a male from the San Diego Zoo that was taken off of Española in the 1930’s. The Española tortoises are breeding at the Darwin Center and to date, 1800 Giant Tortoises have been repatriated to the island.

Photo by Alan Sable

Photo by Lawrence Wade

Frigatebird
Photo by Robert Sable

Frigatebirds swoop just at the surface of the water with their wings spread and scoop up fish with their beaks.
Robert Sable

Frigatebird Nesting Colony
Photo by Robert Sable

Nesting pair of Frigatebirds. The male has inflated it’s gular pouch.
Photo by Lawrence Wade

Frigatebird feeding its young. Video by Alan Sable

Flamingos over-head
Photo by Robert Sable

Our group watched the flamingos flying toward us. Some were taking photos, others  watched in awe. But all were thankful for the opportunity to see something so magnificent.
Lawrence Wade

Flamingos feeding
Photo by Robert Sable

Green Sea Turtle
Photo by Lawrence Wade

Dancing with a Green Sea Turtle
Floating together
Back and forth with the surge
Experiencing wonder
Such beauty and wildness
Never to be forgotten

photo by Lawrence Wade

 

Waved Albatross mated pair. The largest breeding colony in the world is on Española Island, Galapagos.
Photo by Lawrence Wade

Wave Albatross courtship dance. Bill clacking and head nodding. View on full screen. Video by Carol S. Wade

Waved Albatross chick
Photo by Robert Sable

Tree Cactus, Santa Cruz Is.
Photo by Alan Sable

Tree Cactus, notice the Land Iguana who had set up its territory underneath the cactus.
Photo by Alan Sable

Galapagos Land Iguana is up 4 feet long and weighs 30 pounds.
Photo by Lawrence Wade

Land Iguanas feed on tree cactus pads. They scrape out the large spines and are able to eat the smaller ones.
Photograph by Robert Sable

During times of drought, many land iguanas die.
Photo by Alan Sable

A land Iguana and marine iguana battle for nesting territory.
Photo by Lawrence Wade

The fight went on for over 15 minutes. The land iguana was flipped over on its back 2 times and its neck had bite marks on it. Our group left before the end. It was unnerving to witness the rawness of these two species battling for their survival.
Lawrence Wade

Very young Sea lion pup.
Photo by Carol S. Wade

A pup trying to nurse from an unwilling mom. Video by Alan Sable.

The pup wanted to keep nursing and the mother waddled away. The pup followed braying mournfully.
Robert Sable

Young Sea Lions swimming intertidal pool Video by Carol S. Wade

Sea Lions are awkward and “comical” on land. In the water, they are breathtakingly sleek and acrobatic.
Robert Sable

Bleached bones of a Sea Lion.
Photo by Lawrence Wade

Life and death was continuously around us, interwoven into the fabric of the land. For instance, you might see a plump sea lion pup nursing, take three steps and find a  sea lion carcass or a young pup who is starving because his mother was killed for unknown reasons.
Lawrence Wade

Marine Iguana is the world’s only sea-going lizard.
Photo by Robert Sable

Note the long fingers and nails that the marine iguana uses for climbing steep cliffs on their way out of the water.
Photo by Lawrence Wade

Marine Iguanas spend most of their time on land basking on rocks. They must get warm enough to feed in the cool nearshore water on algae. Their diet causes them to have an excess of salt in their body which they “snort out” through their nose.

Photo by Lawrence Wade

Blue Footed Booby.
Photo by Robert Sable

Blue footed Boobys dive from great heights with their wings tucked in until they are torpedo shaped. They dive deep in the water for fish.
Robert Sable

Blue-footed Booby Mating Dance.
The male is displaying and trying to attract its mate.
Photo by Lawrence Wade

Red-footed booby Photo by Lawrence Wade

Nazca Booby Colony
Photo by Robert Sable

Nazca Booby breeding colony. Video by Alan Sable

American Oystercatchers
Lawrence Wade

Swallowtail Gull
Photo by Lawrence Wade

Blowhole Video by Alan Sable

Undersea World of the Galapagos

Many large schools of Surgeonfish.
Photo by Lawrence Wade

Sea Star
Photo by Lawrence Wade

King Angel
Photo by Lawrence Wade

Hogfish
Photo by Lawrence Wade

Sting Ray in the surf
Photo by Alan Sable

Sally Lightfoot Crab. The name “lightfoot” comes from their ability to “walk quickly across the water”.
Photo by Carol S. Wade

Lava Heron eating a Sally Lightfoot Crab
Photo by Robert Sable

The curtain closes on our adventure.
Photo by Carol S. Wade

Trip of a lifetime!
Robert Sable

 

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