Day 6 – We spent the morning on Fernandina Island, which is the youngest and western-most island in the archipelago. Our dingy dropped us off at a landing in the midst of a lovely mangrove and we immediately stumbled upon a gaggle of napping marine iguanas. Fernandina is very volcanic and wild; much of the terrain reminded us of Sunset Crater and the Badlands. Marine iguanas covered the island, and I failed miserably in my quest to capture a photo of one snorting salt out of it’s nose. Every time I focused on a particular candidate to focus on (s)he would inevitably manage to snort salt JUST when I was distracted by something else (bugs, someone walking between us, etc). It’s like they KNOW! I have concluded that marine iguanas are very uncooperative creatures. We had more luck with the sea lions. There were many little beaches along the coast and we witnessed more than one male sea lion defending his little patch of paradise. Oh, and I can’t forget the birds…we saw a Galapagos Hawk, which is the second predatory bird we have encountered and some flightless cormorants showing off their stubby wings.
When we returned to the Letty, I took a nap while John joined a group for snorkeling. John enjoyed watching marine iguanas feed on algae underwater, observed octopi, and stalked sea turtles.
After lunch (during which the Letty moved to Tagus Cove, Isabella Island), we went for a brief kayak ride. We saw historic graffiti, a couple of sea lions, pelicans, and penguins. The water was very calm and it was a nice little excursion. Following kayaking, we went deep water snorkeling with some sea turtles and twenty…no ten! penguins.
We had a long transit between day 6 and day 7, and the Letty raised anchor and got underway before dinner began. Right before sunset the Captain, Andres, announced that he had sighted an Orca. We all grabbed our cameras and ran to the sun deck. John and I did not see the orca, but we arrived on the sun deck in time to see a HUGE pod of Common Dolphins. There were so many common dolphins feeding, jumping, and swimming around our ship that we were unable to count them. Cliff, a fellow traveler, drove the boat around in circles in an attempt to locate the orca, while everyone else reveled in the spectacular dolphin show.