Sunday 18 February 2024

Galapagos journals Day 18

Dear diary,

Today was awesome and amazing and brilliant!! And that's because we did the 360 tour of San Cristobal and we saw A LOT!! We went to places where you can only go by boat, as there are very few roads on the island. I will only pick out the highlights because otherwise this post will be as long as a full-grown Titanoboa (now extinct, but for those of you who are not familiar with the species, it's a prehistoric snake growing up to 48 feet or 16.6304 meters) and that will bore you all like a boa constrictor and that won't be fun.

I think what really made it though as an incredible snorkelling experience was the landscape! It's not every day we get to snorkel at Kicker Rock, or Leon Dormido as it's known in San Cristobal (the sleeping lion), basically the remains of an extinct volcano. It looks like a huge rock but it is actually just compacted volcanic ash. The volcano has been worn away by the sea to create a channel between the rocks where we swam through. It was just jaw droppingly dramatic! I have to say, I was a little bit scared to swim off the boat, with no beach nearby to swim to if you need to. But as soon as you dive in, you forget all this.

The 360 tour is basically a hammerhead shark tour, in a boat called 'The Hammerhead Boat' and to top that all, we saw hammerhead sharks!!!!!!!! And not only did we see them, we also swam with them! I only saw one of the three hammerheads swimming underneath us but Dan got a better view of one of them. He was diving down to see if there is anything else to see and was swimming along with the fishes when he suddenly saw it in front of him. At first, he thought it was a white tipped shark, and since we've seen quite a few of those already, he swam along...until he noticed its head and tried following it closely! But then the hammerhead turned his head and saw Dan and quickly swam off closer to the whole group of us swimming above! I think Dan chased him into us without realising!! Good job, Dan!

There were also some famous viewings yesterday that only some quick swimmers and good eyes managed to spot!

For example, there was a twist on one of the birds we saw on North Seymour I would like you to meet: the rare and unexpected red-footed booby! Yes, you read that right. Please meet one of the three types of boobies in the Galapagos! Unlike its blue-footed friend that we've come across so far, the red-feet of this booby come from the red ocean squid that they eat. So feet are red but their beak is blue, so in a way, the strangest combination of all, don't you think? 

And what did the quick eyes see? I spotted the head of a flat fish lurking under the sand. We think it was the head of a tropical flounder. Nearby, our guide and I also had a close encounter with a small moray eel which kept on snapping at his camera! A pretty ugly thing I thought.

And while I am at it, we also spotted a new subspecies of iguana. It's the biggest of the lot, up to 1.5m long - and the coolest thing about it is its name: Godzilla Iguana!!!!

And last but not least, we also spotted from very close, eagle rays. It was magnificent!

Tomorrow, we have another early start but we are all very excited about this one. Can you guess what we are doing?


  1. What an(other) amazing day! Courage diving off the boat rewarded. Say hello to Ismene from me, Clare