Islas Galápagos


[October - November 2006]


Hover over thumbnails for descriptive text.  Double click to maximize.

The windward passage to the Galápagos kept the crew of Carina busy constantly; here Jake and Philip enjoy a much needed offwatch nap while underway.

Carina first arrived in the Galápagos islands on October 13, 2006 after a five and a half day passage from Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador.

Upon arrival in the Galápagos, Carina displays flags of Ecuador, Galápagos and the Q flag,meaning that she requests practique or clearance.

The crew of Isla Encanto (David and Liz) and Carina enjoy lunch after arriving in Galápagos after a five day passsage.

Carina settled at anchor at Wreck Bay, Isla San Cristobal after passage from Bahía de Caráquez on mainland Ecuador.

The Darwin Interpretive Center at Isla San Cristobal provided fascinating information about the history of the Galápagos Islands.

Charles Darwin landed at the Galápagos for the first time at Las Tijeretas, a perfect little bay on San Cristobal over which this statue presides.

Marine iguanas hang out on volcanic rocks and are so well camouflaged that you have to be careful not to trip over them.

Even during the wet "garua" season, the leeward side of San Cristobal was dry.

San Cristobal's hiking trail diverges to a gun port used historically for target practice.

This very young sea lion pup on the beach at Wreck Bay showed a baby's inquisitiveness while his mom slept with one eye open watching us.

On Isla San Cristobal about 2500 giant tortoises remain in the wild. Access is by boat and then an hour and half hike.

Some giant tortoises were relocated from their tiny existing habitat on the north end of San Cristobal to the Cerro Colorado Galápaguero.

This year and a half tortoise was the first one born at the Galápaquero "seminatural" tortoise rescue and breeding center on Isla San Cristobal.

Philip poses with one of the tortoises in the Galápaguero Tortois Ctr. Not unafraid, the reptiles would retract their heads and hiss when touched.

Seven month old Galápagos tortoises jostle for food under the protective eye of National Park scientists.

The Junco Lagoon offers a stable supply of fresh water for land and sea birds alike. The day we visited the lagoon was being re-charged by rain.

The Junco Lagoon is named for a reed that flourishes along its shores in an extinct volcanic caldera.

The Quinta de Ceibo is a tree house in historic El Progresso on San Cristobal built in the largest tree in all of the Galapagos Islands.

The Sharksky owned and operated by second generation captain, Manuel Yepez provides trips into the Galápagos National Park.

The Sharksky trip group: Bruce (US), Jeri & Matt (UK), Javier (guide), Melanie (Swiss), Janet & Bill (Canada), Philip & Leslie (US), Bruce (Canada).

The north side of Isla San Cristobal is dotted with interesting features - Sharksky passed through this grotto!

Leon Dormido (Sleeping Lion), also known as Kicker Rock, sits off beautiful Bahía Stephes in San Cristobal, Galápagos.

Sea lion antics brought out the comedian in Darcy, a volunteer English teacher from Arizona.

A lava gull begs for food in the Parque Nacional Galápagos.

The spires of Leon Dormido drawf the snorkelers who were drifting through the gap in company of Galapagos sharks.

The north side of Leon Dormido is buffeted by waves that shine in the late afternoon sun.

Later at Isla Los Lobos this baby fur seal showed no fear of us as we trudged by.

From the masthead, Carina's world seems spectacular but not necessarily informative.

Galápagos islands are supplied by small merchant marine vessels. The Virgin of Monserrat supplied sacks of potatoes and limes, propane & beer.

The Isla Isabela anchorage, sitting behind the reefs of Islas Tintoreras, is tight and shallow but has beautiful views to the west (SV Otter photo).

On Isla Isabela the main road is interrupted by an Iguana crossing (Cruce de Iguanas) where these exotic monsters cross to the beach.

On the grounds of the old prison, near the Wall of Tears, we spotted our first (Darwin) cactus finch snacking on the seeds of this opuntia cactus.

Flamingos are rare and shy even in the Galápagos. Isabela's lagoons are one place they survive.

Galápagos penguins are a species unique to these islands but they are related to Magellan penguins and those in the Falkland Islands.

Blue footed boobies are big active diving birds whose electric blue feet make them almost comical when perched on (in this case) lava rock.

We don't know the common name for this "parkinsonia" flower but it shouts out during dry season from a tree that looks grey and barren,

Galápagos penguins move like the elderly when on land but in the water while fishing they use their rudimentary wings to travel like rockets.

Isla Isabela has many trails, we hiked this one with friends Rich and Hope to the Centro de Crianza for giant tortoises.

Tourist facilities on Isla Isabela are not exactly posh. We traveled on bench seats in this truck to Sierra Negra through the dusty desert landscape.

Nearby the Galápagos National Park, a caballero keeps small horses for excursions. Our guide described the horses as "rustic".

Leslie's stubborn but attractive little horse was called Pata pata which translates to leg leg. Hmmm

The caldera of Vulcan Sierra Negra is the second largest in the world and remains very active; exactly one year ago lava flowed down this slope.

Joseph our guide to Sierra Negra volcano eats his lunch at the edge of the caldera.

The lava of Sierra Negra shows both smooth "pahoehoe" and sharp, pointed "aa" types taken from the Hawiian words for "ropey and to hurt", respectively

In October spring brought new vegetation and activity to the bird population. This Galápagos mockingbird was harvesting lichen for a nest.

Looking across the cinder cones of the active volcano Sierra Negra, pristine isolated Elizabeth Bay is a spectacular site.

After a exhilarating ride through surf and around rocks we arrived at the amazing lava tunnels at Cabo Rosa on Isla Isabela.

This enormous sea turtle was gliding amongst the grottos of Isla Isabela's lava tunnels at Cabo Rosa.

Near Cabo Rosa on Isla Isabela there is an extensive area of protected waters formed by lava that supports cactus, mangroves and a plethora of fauna.

The water is amazingly clear at the lava grottos at Cabo Rosa, Isla Isabela.

Just west of Puerto Vallamil at Isla Isabela sits Roca Union which is home to Nazca (masked) boobies, swallowtail gulls, iguanas and sea lions.

The Wall of Tears at Isla Isabela is a stark reminder of man's cruelty to his fellow man.

The cemetery at Isla Isabela in the Galápagos sits behind a lava rock wall and overlooks a beautiful white sand beach.

Returning from the Galápagos to Panama the weather was mixed but the mighty Pacific always dealt us beautiful natural scenes.

Though most of our passage was sunny and warm, we did encounter the occasional shower of warm rain.

Later as we approached Punta Mala, Panama, squalls and convection over the mainland to the east created even more spectacular natural displays.