||April 4 -- We
saw our first penguins today, first one and then three more on the rocks
at Isla Bartolomé. The Galápagos Penguins are just
little guys, but this is as far north as you'll find any penguin.
It was an exciting discovery.
We also did a little climb to a volcano rim. It
didn't seem like much, but most of it was under the ocean. The lava
flows were only about 100 years old though, so it was a pretty rugged and
rocky landscape. It seems almost like the surface of the moon.
There's not much plant life on this little island. The lava cactus
is most impressive, but there's not much of it either. Overall, the
Galápagos seems to be a pretty rugged environment for plants, but
that's all part of its unique nature.
We had a pretty exciting landing for our hike up to the top. They
call it a "dry landing", which it mostly was except that the sea was pretty
choppy and the waves were washing up over the little concrete jetty.
Arturo, our boatman, had to take our little boat up to the rocks nearby
and we had to jump off between the waves. Fortunately we all disembarked
and later made it back onto the boats safely.
This evening after dinner, four sea lions showed up along the side of
our boat, mostly just playing around and chasing fish. All of a sudden
there were hundreds of fish jumping out of the water. It wasn't quite
a feeding frenzy, sea lions certainly like to play. When you're in
the water with them, they'll swim right up to you for a good look.
On the beaches, if they're not too relaxed, they'll sometimes wander over
to check you out. It's a friendly crowd on the beaches of the Galápagos
and the sea lions made us feel welcome wherever we went.
Overall, this was a pretty good day.