Galapagos: A couple of Floreanas

Days: 242

Total distance travelled: 46,757.6 kilometres (29,041.99 miles)

Days begin early on board the Floreana (our boat), with their large breakfasts served at 7am on the dot, and our day of activities usually set to commence by around 8am.

This morning (day one) was no exception.

But when one wakes to views such as these, it’s truly hard to complain.

A new day, a new island (Click on image to enlarge)

A new day, a new island (Click on image to enlarge)

So where had our tour begun?

Why on Floreana Island of course!

That’s right, today, we’d be kicking off our adventure with a double dose of Floreana, and it was shortly after the appointed time that our boatload of eager folk were piled into the vessel’s two Zodiac’s and headed towards the shore.

There to greet us were the usual suspects. Blue Footed Boobies, Galapagos Sea Lions, Brown Pelicans, and just as colourful as any of them, but oft neglected, the Sally Lightfoot Crabs (initially I thought they were called the Cellulite Foot Crab…).

A splash of morning colour as a Sally Lightfoot Crab shows off its cannibalistic tendencies

A splash of morning colour as a Sally Lightfoot Crab shows off its cannibalistic tendencies

Our guide Victor gave us a short brief on the island and its history, to the point of even doing a little show and tell, so we could see why the island’s sands possessed a slightly greenish hue.

Apparently it’s all down to the Olivine, and by his accounts, it is very rare (globally) to be able to find pieces of this volcano forged, translucent rock, so easily on the surface.

Green sands, built from volcano forged Olivine

Green sands, built from volcano forged Olivine

Our guide Victor leads us on into the rugged interior, safe in his 'endemic' shoes

Our guide Victor leads us on into the rugged interior, safe in his ‘endemic’ shoes

Hitting the islands gravelly trails for a bit of exploration, got us to a handy observation perch, which enabled us to take in one of the islands lagoons, where in the distance we could spy some of the Galapagos’ Pink Flamingos.

The place felt pretty arid, and the rough beach upon which we landed was like the path we now walked, rough and scrubby, so when we rounded a hill to find a stunning beach of pure white sand, it was a bit of a surprise.

Again home to many sea lions, crabs and sea birds, the star attraction however proved to be a posse of Green Sea Turtles, occasionally visible in the surf, trying for a bit of rough and tumble romance!

Just your average scenic beach, with Green Sea Turtles attempting to mate in the surf...

Just your average scenic beach, with Green Sea Turtles attempting to mate in the surf…

With enough excitement for the morning, we returned to the boat, so that it could maneuver to a new location on the island’s fringes, The Devils Crown.

Shortly we were back in the Zodiacs, however this time our intent was never to make landfall, rather to get ourselves into the water for a snorkel.

What was the place like? Visibility was clear, the sea life was abundant, but I’ll let you make an assessment for yourself!

Essentially a giant pillar jutting our of the water, this place was home to thousands of fish, obviously a few sharks, and we even sighted a Green Sea Turtle, although sadly it was a little too deep for us to truly appreciate.

Our snorkeling route was essentially a circuit of the whole rock formation, so eventually we found ourselves somewhere close to where we started.

The whole experience was pretty amazing, and got us excited to get back in the water as soon as possible!

Floreana Island still had a full schedule for us in the afternoon, and after again relocating we were once again back on the waters, this time headed for the shore in Post Office Bay.

This particular location has a bit of history, the name derived from an old barrel that was placed upon the island back in the 1700’s. In this barrel, whaling vessels would place letters for home, and ships in the area, should they be headed to that home port/country, were obliged to take the relevant mail on board and see it delivered.

Thankfully these days, the whalers are long gone, as I believe the Galapagos is a place even the floating Japanese whaling factories dare not go to conduct their “scientific research.”

A barrel however does still sit there, a place where tourists now pop unstamped postcards, and travelers from the destination country/city can now collect them and see them delivered.

This was our original destination, however the presence of another tour group (yes, even the remote Galapagos can get busy) saw us change our schedule slightly for another snorkel session.

Although the waters at first seemed murky (we were later told it was due to high levels of plankton, not sand or silt), we were quickly wowed yet again by this place that fairly teems with life.

Within minutes we’d experience the joy of floating beside a huge Green Sea Turtle, what would be the first of many within the bay!

Green Sea Turtles at Post Office Bay off Floreana Island

Green Sea Turtles at Post Office Bay off Floreana Island

It was impossible to count how many were present, especially with visibility as poor as it was, but there was one particular moment of joy for Sarah and I as we swam, with 4 of these beautiful animals rocking back and forth amongst us as the waves surged back and forth…

This experience made the whole Post Office in a barrel experience a bit of an anticlimax, although we did have one postcard that we left there, hopeful that it will one day make its way back to some friends in Australia.

The day was capped with an evening Zodiac ride around another small rocky islet, home to many sea lions trying to catch the last flickers of warmth from the suns rays.

It was also a wonderful fishing location for Frigate birds and Boobies, and it was one of my few disappointments of the day that I wasn’t able to capture in photo or film these incredible birds and their dive bombing technique in action.

After such a day, and a large dinner, bed was never going to be far away…

A glorious end to another amazing Galapagos day

A glorious end to another amazing Galapagos day

 

Notes:

* Our cruise on the ‘Floreana’ cost us $1,225.00 US per person for 5 nights/6 days.

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20 Responses to Galapagos: A couple of Floreanas

  1. Absolutely incredible! So anxious to go to the Galapagos and seeing all the incredible underwater life you saw while snorkeling is only making us more so! That sea turtle would’ve been incredible to see so in person!

  2. Amazing that you were so close to the turtles!

  3. Beautiful! Post Office in a barrel sounds so fun. But I must agree, nothing beats swimming with sea turtles. How large were they?

  4. theglobewanderers says:

    Ahh you keep making me want to visit the Galapagos more and more every post. It just looks and sounds so fantastic. Love your videos also! Amazing that you got so close to the turtles :). Great post!

    Gabby

  5. Tracie Howe says:

    I would have begged to go see the flamingos! I didn’t know there were any there. It sounds like you saw a ton of cool stuff anyway. I hope you kept that spec of Olivine, what a neat little souvenir.

  6. twoscotsabroad says:

    The turtle is just adorable! I am very envious of anyone that has been to Galapagos, it looks magical.

  7. I would love to swim with a green sea turtle! They swim with such elegance. It looks like your trip to the Galapagos has truly been amazing.

  8. karla says:

    WOW! awesome shots. We’re doing a similar one here in the Philippines, swimming with the turtle. We are going this December and I couldn’t be more excited. Your videos are cool too.

  9. What a great post! We just left the Galapagos ourselves and we can confirm….it was AMAZING. And your pictures and descriptions are absolutely perfect. Did you guys get to swim/snorkel/scuba with Sea Lions? That was probably one of our favorite things of the entire experience.

  10. The Galapagos are beautiful, for me a place to take my time and enjoy. But my question is, have you found the islands a little redundant? I kinda did after a while.

  11. natalietanner says:

    Wow! This is a wonderful destination – love finding olivine! Looks like a reasonable cost, too. Adding it to the bucket list!

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