We found ourselves at dawn approaching Kicker Rock near San Cristobal.
We had been told that we were going snorkeling here, but because it’s a very popular spot, the National Park authorities allot 1 hour time slots to different boats, and unfortunately we were lucky enough to get the first slot of the day - at 0600.
We were to drop in on this side of the split between the rocks and float between them, then turn left and swim around the largest one.
It was just too dark to see much, but as we rounded the last corner, Steve and I were the only ones still in the water. All of a sudden I was seeing a dark river of fish that seemed to go on forever, and their flashing open mouths kept catching my eye. I turned on my video to capture that, and got an extra treat!
As you can see, I’m definitely not in NatGeo territory as a videographer, but hopefully you could see the size of the bait ball by the enormous number of fish layers.
This was the other side of the cut, after we came through and were riding back in the Zodiac (forgive the blurriness at the bottom - I used my underwater camera, and thought I had wiped off all the water on the lens).
After getting back to the boat and warming up over a big hot breakfast, we headed around the island to this cove. We hiked up and over the cut to the left and found lots of boobies.
You might recall that the red-footed boobies hang out and nest in trees,
while the blue-footed ones prefer the ground.
As we were admiring this pair, the female stretched and we could see what she was hiding:
Our guide told us that this species always lays 2 eggs, about 1 day apart, and that usually the first hatched chick kills the second, by dint of being a day older and stronger. The parents can only provide enough food for 1 chick at a time, but 2 eggs are laid, in case one doesn’t hatch. Thus, this chick was 24 hours old, or less! (make sure your sound is on for the video)
You can see that the mother is shielding the chick from the hot sun, and it’s laying on her cool feet.
As we headed back down, you can appreciate the vantage point we had up by the boobies -
In the late afternoon, Steve and I were 2 of only 4 people who opted to go snorkeling. We had fun entertaining a sea lion pup that kept coming around, hoping to entice us with his antics -
He was just so cute!
I’ll end with this Lava Gull. This species is the rarest gull in the world, with only 300-400 pairs in the world, and it is only found on a few Galapagos islands.