So – it’s day one of full immersion into the Coronavirus!   Pretty scary times . .    It’s a different kind of life for everyone . . .   D and I just went to Publix and found many empty shelves!   No chicken whatsoever!    Craziness . . .   We shopped for as many days as possible so we won’t have to go back to the store . ..   I kept my mouth closed the entire time and didn’t allow myself to touch my face.     So weird . .     Now we’re going out for a bike ride   We still feel safe out by ourselves and we surely need exercise!    Hope you all are safe and finding ways to stay sane . . .

Here is the blog from days 5 and 6 in the Galápagos!   Seems like forever ago that we were doing this touristy stuff . .   🤔

Day 5

Panga ride.      Early morning
The Letty

Wake up call this morning was at 6:30.   So wonderful to not even have to set your alarm!   😀.   Breakfast and then by 7:30, we were off in the pangas for a morning ride through the mangroves to see what we could see!    So fun to lazily ride around with not a care in the world – but to see wild life!   Peaceful.  Beautiful light.

The penguins

We saw penguins – lots of them.   There are no penguins north of the equator so these are the northernmost penguins in the world.  They are quite small and they swim rapidly through the water searching for food.   We spent about 15 minutes watching three of them on a lava rock, cleaning their feathers and getting ready for their morning swim . .

Nice light in the early morning.
Pabricio. One of the naturalists.    All covered up to protect from the hot sun.
Pepe. The other naturalist
Always pelicans.

There were sea lions swimming around and sea turtles.  Including a very rare sea turtle called the hawktail sea turtle.   The shells of these turtles are used for tortoise shell jewelry and they sell for $70,000 on the black market in Asia. . . .       There were rays – including a school of beautiful golden rays.      They almost look like pieces of paper floating in the water . . .      The mangroves are everywhere – reminding us of our trip down the Amazon.     It was hot even so early in the morning . . But we are getting used to that . .

Hawktail sea turtles
Swam right by the boat
Pointing out the wildlife.

We then navigated for a couple of hours to reach the next destination.     The afternoon activity was a snorkel off the pangas.  In wetsuits.   D struggled breathing in his mask . . Didn’t last all that long . . Jojo had a great time – swimming with two giant sea turtles.   I watched them for quite a long time munching the algae along the shore.   Then a penguin went swimming by . .  A bunch of small fish.   Some starfish.   These chocolate chip type starfish.    I saw one large fish.  Others saw a small shark.

A solitary ray
A school of rays.
Maria and others greeting us as we returned.

Then we showered quickly and went out in the pangas to view the blue footed boobies.   These guys were clinging to tiny spots on these cliffs walls.   The water was majorly choppy and so it was rather difficult to get any pictures that weren’t all blurry . .   We were back in the boat by 6:30 or so to get moving to our next spot . .     It was almost 9:30 by the time we were back in our little room and ready for bed . .    Lots happening every day here .  . .

A boobie and marine iguanas
The blue footed boobie
Another . . .
These cliffs are where you find them. Not nesting. Just hangin!

Day 6

Landing on the black beach

Morning activity was fantastic!   We began our day on the island of Santiago.   I loved this walk, although it was already very hot by 8:00 when we took the pangas to shore from the Letty.    The beach here was all black sand, pulverized over the years from the lava flows.    We headed out across middle of the island – not so much to see.   Other than an occasional iguana.    They actually imported iguanas to this island (they de- sexed them so they could not propagate) to help keep the grasses and trees going strong . . .

Just some scenes . . .
An iguana

With little to see, our conversation turned to politics!   😀.   It’s been pretty weird to have no internet for this entire week and have no idea what’s happening with the Democrats  or with the Coronavirus.  Not to mention The Donald . . .  Nada.      So – in Ecuador, their previous ruler was in power for 10 years.   He was very strict.   Everyone knew the rules and if you disobeyed these rules, you would spend time in jail!  You knew where you stood!   Pepe now thinks they were better off with this ruler than the current one.   This guy allows divergent ideas and opinions.   Now there are people demonstrating against the government.   Shutting down streets.   Interfering with life!   “What good is that,” Pepe says.    It’s hard to make a living.     The taxes are now much higher to pay for all the demands and so owners of companies get rid of half of their workers and those people now have no jobs.   The government subsidies food for the poor so there’s no incentive for folks to work to earn a living . .     So interesting to hear people everywhere struggling with their leaders . . .   🤔

Ahhh. The fur seals
A Galápagos fly catcher
My favorite crabs

Then we reached the coast.  Stunning.  The black rocks and sand against the crystal blue water.   And – adorable fur seals sunning themselves on the rocks.   We watched these guys for a long time!   Took tons of pictures!   We walked all the way back across the beach – so much animal life to take in!   My favorites – the Sally Lightfoot crabs!   Also a very young sea lion playing in a tidal pool.   Oyster catcher birds – with their brilliant red beaks.   Flycatchers.    All stunning against the black lava.

Such a life!
Loving the birds . . .
Posing . . .
A land iguana
A marine iguana
Some scenery

Then it was back to the boat – into wet suits – and back to the beach area for snorkeling.    We don’t just sit around on this trip!   😀.    This was a very successful snorkel!    I saw two reef sharks, one swimming and one just hanging on the bottom.   A large stingray.   Lots and lots of beautiful, colorful birds!     Schools of tiny and medium sized fish . .  So much to see.

After lunch, we motored to the island of Rabino.    We rode around in the pangas looking for blue footed boobies.   We found all of two!    This area is totally red!   Lots of iron in the soil.    So the lava starts out black and eventually turns to red over the years.    Stunning scenery . ..   saw some iguanas and pelicans.     And then we landed on the beach to go snorkeling.     No wet suits.   Warm water.   Relatively calm water.  It was a wonderful snorkel!    We saw loads of colorful fish – small and big!   Sea lions.  Hundreds of tiny fish swimming in huge schools.  As the sea lion swims toward these schools, they just part in the middle and give the sea lion a wide berth!     So fun . .

Do you believe the red shore?
A pelican
A blue footed booby
Another booby
More fur seals

Our honeymooners
Flamingos in the lagoon.
A school of mullets
A ray . .
Red everywhere. Silvery trees set against the red sand . . .

And then, it was back to the boat for a late afternoon of relaxing , drinking, conversing and enjoying the upper deck of the boat! . .

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