Sunday, June 25th Floreana Boobies
Because of their incredible fecundity and destructiveness to the environment, 150 thousand non-native goats were shot from helicopters by a New Zealand company, which in turn made off with 10 million dollars for the job, or $70 per goat.
While it was important to restore the natural habitat, it wasn’t the poor goats’ fault. So many factors go into saving our planet. Despite a keen interest in doing what I can to avoid harm, I follow only a fraction of them. It is much harder for a farmer who wants goat milk or meat to drink, eat or sell, to appreciate the importance of conservation, or for conservationists to appreciate exploiting animals for food. So, the alternative is to shoot them?
Fortunately, the boobies are doing well. Thirty percent of Galapagos boobies live on Floreana. We saw blue footed, red footed, brown and sterile white footed boobies. They are, like most other wildlife in the Island, calm and unflappable as they go about their daily business, either gazing curiously at or ignoring their visitors.
We snorkeled before lunch from the beach, Black Turtle Cove. It is strongly suggested not to leave a beach towel lying out, because sea lions will sneak up and appropriate them.
After lunch, we snorkeled off the shore of Post Office Bay, near a famous diving site called Devil’s Crown. There are two major points of the rock between which we were not allowed to go, because of sharp underwater spikes rising from the ocean floor and joining the two.
The submerged volcano provides great snorkeling, and I was glad I was not the only one having trouble swimming against strong currents on the other side of the rock. All of us were given a Zodiac lift back to the up-current side to explore the second face of this underwater haven.
The small white tip shark appeared for me once or twice, and there were more marine turtles and sea lions. Sting rays and large sharks did not show up during snorkeling times, but we did see them at night time swimming alongside the boat. Sharks evolved from Sting Rays, which the sharks now feed on. Sort of like politics.
On board there was a book on water wildlife, and while my greatest pleasure was simply watching the many shapes, colors, sizes and characteristic movements of the fish, it was somewhat satisfying to discover I had seen many species each of grunts, snappers, parrot fish, surgeon and wrasses, to name a few.
The crew seemed to enjoy helping me practice Spanish. Carlos definitely was the smiliest and happiest among them. You could always tell when Carlos was laughing from the back of the boat. As first mate, when Captain Guillerme was resting, Carlos was in charge.
It was a disappointment to learn that even the sailing yachts primarily use their motors to go from place to place, because we had chosen the Cachalote to try to be a little greener, and sailing is fun!
The breezes this day were going with us, so that at least the front mast sails could assist with the travel. It was deliciously relaxing and wonderful to be on deck for the only one of our six days on board using wind for power. And so we were off to Santa Cruz and Santiago.
For the thousands of miles frigates fly, you can’t blame them for hitching a ride on ships. Can you see them in the first photo? Basically, they are thieves, often snatching fish from the very stomach of other birds who have gone to the trouble of making the catch. The pleasures and perils of life are the same the world over, so why are we surprised or shocked at politics as usual? We can only do our own personal best.