Day 5 - October 23, 2013 - Tagus cove and Elizabeth bay
By Dries Degel, Naturalist
Air Temperature: 22ºC
Pressure: 890 hPa
Wind: 4 knots
Very early this morning Silver Galapagos arrived and anchored off post office bay in Floreana Island, which is the island very rich in human history, because many times in history the colonization of Galapagos took place here.
After a wet landing, I went few yards behind the bushes walking on a sandy trail, then finding out the famous barrel of post office in which I really enjoyed looking for post cards or letters sent to my country and city but I didn’t find anyone, and of course I was leaving some of my post cards as well.
I visited also, the remains of the Norwegians that were trying to colonize the island in the 20th century but failed. Following another trail I walked about ten more minutes to visit the lava tunnel, a natural volcanic formation with very dark and rocky underground, fortunately the guide was equipped with a powerful flashlight, so we went inside and we found a shallow pool of sea water right at the end of the tunnel.
After 11am, the ship sailed for about 45 minutes, and arrived in the eastern side of Floreana Island, where there is an islet named Champion, which is an eroded volcano with steep cliffs and plenty of candelabra and prickly pear cactus.
I went for deep water snorkelling which was really fun, with sea lions, and a lot of fish. After that I had a zodiac tour around the islet and I spotted several interesting sea birds as the noisy red billed tropicbirds, a lot of shearwaters, and the enigmatic swallow tailed gulls were nesting in the lower part of the rookery with their chicks. Many big male sea lions were barking meanwhile the females and their babies were resting ashore.
Finally, the ship was relocated in another place not far from Champion, which name is Punta Cormorant, a beautiful area with two different beaches, one volcanic greenish and brownish color beach due the olivine minerals from the collapses of the tuff cone on one side, and the other an organic beach with a nice and pure whitish color due the breakdown of corals and shells containing carbonate calcium.
Between both beaches was a big salty lagoon with the beautiful pink greater flamingos, the white cheeked pintail ducks, and some sanderlings, common visitors of these areas in the Galapagos. The lagoon was surrounded by mangroves in green color, the mud was a rusty reddish color, with the pink of the flamingos reflecting the water were giving the impression to me that everything was decorated and painted by an expert artist.
The second beach was even more interesting because it is visited very often by female marine turtles at night, so all the beach were marked with tracks from the sea to the sandy dunes, and there were big holes in which the turtles were working very hard digging and laying their eggs that usually are up to 90 or 100 per nest. I saw Frigatebirds gliding over the beach looking carefully downwards and waiting for any baby turtle that wrongly decided to leave the nest going to the sea.
When I came back to the ship at sunset I questioned to myself: is it possible to see so many things in just one day???
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