|A happy and dozing Galapagos penguin|
|Marine iguana trying to cool down|
|Lava lizard, staying still for once!|
"Quick everybody, boobies!!!"
Not a phrase I thought I'd ever hear, or if I did, not one I would run towards... But we were glad we did. As we rounded the corner, we saw hundreds and hundreds of blue footed boobies gathering and circling in a large flock above the bay. We watched them in awe, which was made even greater when, all of a sudden, and almost simultaneously, they folded their wings and dove into the surf creating a feeding frenzy. The video of this moment is below.
|Blue footed boobies gathering in a feeding frenzy|
On our walk back, we looked for white tipped reef sharks in the channels through the rock. When we got back to Isabela, we spent the evening in a beach bar, with its own passed out marine iguana. All of this amazing wildlife, and it was only our first afternoon on Isabela. We still had a day and a half to go!
|Galapagos mocking bird|
Our next stop was to a freshwater pool in the hope of seeing greater flamingos, and we were not disappointed! A small group of flamingos were filter feeding, with one, presumably a male, being rather loud and showing off. Greater flamingos are a recent addition to the fauna of the Galapagos, having only been here for around a thousand years. After being enchanted by them for a number of minutes, we were off again to our final stop before heading back to town, the giant tortoise breeding center. We had seen some wild giant tortoises on our cycle ride, tortoises probably bred at the breeding center and released into the wild. The breeding center had the young tortoises in different holding pens, and each had tortoises of a similar size. They were all tiny compared to those we had seen earlier and whilst on Floreana island. We also learnt that giant tortoises are the only animal that eat the 'poison apples' we kept seeing, and they do so to use it as a laxative to speed up their digestion.
|Young giant tortoise eating a 'poison apple'|
That afternoon, we hiked the Sierra Negra volcano. An hour and half's hike to see the 10 km wide crater of this shield volcano was well worth it. The volcano is still active, but is packed with wildlife on the walk up to the summit. We heard what we think was a short eared owl, although it refused to call every time we pointed it out to our guide. We also saw both male and female vermilion flycatchers.
|Male and female vermilion flycatchers|
After this amazing experience, it was time to head to our final island: Santa Cruz.