Saturday 3 February 2024

Galapagos journals Day 5

Dear diary,

A birder's life! Yesterday was our first half day tour, and today is our first full day tour. It's getting better and better! This time, we took a two-mast sailing boat, though it was powered by motor, which was really great for a longer tour.  It really reminded my of being in Greece sailing in the Aegean (hi Ollie and Stella and Carina). 

Our first stop was Playa Las Bachas, a nesting beach for sea turtles. As soon as we approached the beach, we saw fresh marks in the sand, which, at first, I thought were made by a tractor or a machine of some kind.  But when we got closer, our guide explained that they were really made by turtles dragging themselves across the beach. We were so lucky to be the first people on the beach and were glad no one or anything had ruined them. We then realised that the whole beach top was covered in active turtle nests. It was quite incredible to see, and reminded me a bit of Greece again (we see tiny turtles every summer at my granddad's place in the Peloponnese) 

And there were more surprises over the sand dune. Five flamingos were standing in the lagoon at the top. Apparently, there are 230 Caribbean flamingos in the Galapagos. One of them was sleeping on one leg with his head under his wing. I'm not sure how that's comfortable, but for them I guess it's the comfiest pillow?

Our second destination was North Seymour, a brilliant small island for bird watching and what this tour was really about. It is covered in birds (and bird poo), mainly the frigate bird and the blue-footed booby. It turns out that the frigate bird is a bit of a bully and a thief - apparently, they eat fish but they don't fish (at least not regularly). So what do they do to get food? They grab the boobys out of the sky and shake them until the fish drops out of their mouths! Disgusting and it's not right! 

Did you know that the frigate males have a large red pouch on their chests which they puff up every morning (it takes them about 20 mins to half an hour) to impress the ladies. The babies are all white with a black bill, but as they grow older their feathers turn black. 

The boobys on the other hand are brilliant fishers They dive from the sky like a white arrow hitting the surface with a splash, and then, they make off with their prize, hoping the frigate birds don't catch them. Did you know that if a booby's feet are light blue they are well nourished and healthy? They nest on the ground inside a circle of poo to stop the ants entering.

Before leaving the island, we spotted four or five baby seals swimming and tumbling in the bay. It was very cute! And a few land iguanas, scowled at us as we walked passed. Isn't their camouflage amazing?

I am off to get an ice-cream now, speak tomorrow!


  1. I've always wanted to see a booby. What an extraordinary adventure. I fear your birthday present will seem very dull and tame after what you have been experiencing! Hopefully practical for English weather but that must be so hard to think about now! Happy Birthday dear Orestis. What a way to spend it. Lots of love Margl xxx

    1. Orestis Sullivan7 February 2024 at 12:32

      Thanks Margret, l loved the booby but I think an Iguana in England would be a case for disaster!!