Ecuador and the Galapagos

Galapagos Islands Photos

_MG_1162The Galapagos Islands are like nowhere else on earth. It’s been said before and it’ll be said a thousand times again. But no matter how many times you hear that, nothing can prepare you for arriving on the islands. They really are alien.

The skies are filled with some of the best-looking birdlife, and more of it, than you’re likely to ever see again in your life. I’m not even a Twitcher, nor did I consider myself particularly a fan of birds, but by the end of my trip even I could spot a female juvenile frigatebird from 40 paces.

Then, of course, there is the land and aquatic life. Both shore and sea are fully-stocked with some of the most miraculous creautres in the world. Giant tortoises lazily patrol the Santa Cruz highlands, marine iguanas sun themselves on Bachas Beach, sea turtles graze on underwater meadows, Sally Lightfoot Crabs hop, skip and jump across the rockpools – the place is like a real-life Disney movie.

I took a camera along on my eight-day Intrepid itinerary and attempted to capture as much of the island’s magic as I could. Here’s a small selection of what I came home with.

_MG_11671. Pelicans, Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island

Arriving on Bachas Beach on day one was overwhelming, due to the sheer volume of birds on the beach. Every few minutes, a shrill whistle would alert you to a flock of boobies zooming overhead. Pelicans would duck in from the sky close enough to grab your hat from your head. These two were enjoying some quiet time.

2. Remains of the Bachas Barge, Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island

Our Intrepid guide, Oswaldo, leads the way whilst I exercise my god-given right to get the angles.

3. Blue-footed boobies overhead, Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island

As mentioned above, these guys would shoot over every few minutes. It wasn’t hard to get a good photo.

_MG_11704. Pelican, ready for his close-up, Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island

The pelicans just don’t care about humans. Oswaldo, despite having worked and lived in the Galapagos since he was 15, remains as fascinated by the islands’ inhabitants (perhaps even more so) as any traveller.

5. Pelican in flight, Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island

This thing was no more than seven or eight feet from me.

6. Feeding time, Bachas Beach, Santa Cruz Island

We were lucky enough to witness a fish feeding frenzy during our few hours on Bachas Beach. Boobies, pelicans, frigatebirds and more joined in the festivities. They’d fly from one end of the beach to the other, following the fish as they attempted to escape their untimely demise. If I were to be reincarnated, I would not want to be a fish in the Galapagos Islands. Too much to worry about.

7. Approaching the Sierra Negra Volcano, Isabela Island

Hot, tired and walking across an incredible field of lava in search of pink flamingoes. Just another day in the Galapagos Islands.

8. Masked boobie, Genovesa Island

I think the masked boobies were my favourite of all the boobies. They look a little like I imagine seagulls would if they’d have been to see a careers adviser in their youth and looked after themselves a little better.

9. Juvenile frigatebird and friend, Genovesa Island

Wildlife is so abundant in the Galapagos that often you’ll take a photo and realise afterwards that you got more than one animal in the frame, completely by accident. I had no idea that marine iguana was lurking down to the bottom left when I snapped this one.

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Source: www.intrepidtravel.com
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