The afternoon visit on Santiago Island began on a black sanded beach with snorkeling. After an hour’s stay we donned our shoes to hike through the island to arrive to a volcanic rock filled coastline. The terrain was rugged and the surf’s waves boomed in the distance. This section of Santiago Island is known for its Galapagos Fur Seals.
The Galapagos Fur Seal are unique to the islands, and only one small colony exists away from the Galapagos on the northern coast of Peru. These fur seals prefer to spend more time on land on rocky terrain. While looking very similar to the Galapagos Sea Lion, these Galapagos Fur Seals are smaller and their coats thicker. They can also be identified by their bulging eyes, larger ears and larger front flippers.
We walked along the coastline to return to the black sanded beach. Along the way, Marine Iguanas dotted the landscape, while Sea Lions enjoyed the tide pools.
This shoreline is filled with wildlife and in a short distance a number of species were seen. As usually, I was at the end of the line in search of my feathered friends. When everyone was rushing up to get their first looks at the Galapagos Fur Seals, I was enjoying two Galapagos Doves that flew in for a quick visit.
I was enjoying a pair of beautiful American Oystercatchers snoozing on the rock. They woke up and began flirting. But then an interloper flew in and was quickly chased off.
The afternoon spent on Santiago Island was truly a highlight on the week long cruise on the Galapagos Islands. In such a small area a wide variety of wildlife was enjoyed. And on the return to our ship the Eclipse, we had to say good bye to the Island.
SPECIES SEEN: Galapagos Sea Lion, Galapagos Fur Lion, Marine Iguana, Lava Lizard Manta Ray (Jumping in ocean)
BIRDS SEEN: Magnificent Frigatebird, Galapagos Hawk, Blue Footed Booby, Brown Pelican, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Wandering Tattler, American Ostercatcher, Elliott Storm Petrel, Galapagos Shearwater, Swallowtail Gull, Lava Heron, Great Blue Heron, Yellow Crowned Heron, Galapagos Mockingbird, Yellow Warbler, Medium Ground Finch, Galapagos Flycatcher, Galapagos Dove