Returning from our very first island excursion, we found this visitor on the stern deck of the boat. From then on, there seemed to be one sea lion or several always nearby. Whenever we went ashore, there was usually a male patrolling back forth just off the beach. We saw pups nursing on the rocks. Even in town, there were sea lions.
They are quite tame and friendly, and often came close to look us over. The young were particularly curious about us.
There are two kinds in Galápagos. The more common had a golden hue. This is the other kind, the fur sea lion.
Catcho explained several differences between seals and sea lions, but I always notice the ears. Sea lions have external ears and seals do not. Only sea lions live in Galápagos.
Pinnacle Rock on Bartolomé Island. was the most scenic spot we visited. The beach just to the left of the pinnacle was a beautiful rounded cove with warm sand, where some of our friends spent an afternoon. Catcho warned them to be careful of any small dark critters on the beach. They were newly hatched sea turtles just heading for their first swim. He had seen some there just weeks before.
Christina and I joined the snorkelers in a rocky sheltered spot just to the right of the pinnacle. There we found a small colony of penguins lounging on the rocks.
There were two penguins on a large boulder just above the waterline, with a small pool behind them. I swam into this pool, surrounded by penguins. And they were mating!
After a while, the waves over-topped the large boulder with the mating pair, so they jumped into the water and swam into my pool. They were headed across to the shore where the others rested, and came so close to me that I had to move out of the way!
These crabs populated the rocky shorelines of every island. The colorful little spiders were even more common than the sea lions. They're called 'Sally Lightfoot Crabs'.
We had some idle time in the town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island, so we hung out at the outdoor fish market. The boats were lined up in the harbor below, and one successful fisherman brought his catch up to be cleaned and sold.
Just as a dog would beg for scraps in a kitchen, this sea lion was looking for handouts at the market! Pelicans and great blue heron were also watching hungrily. Wild animals are really a part of life here.