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Destination: Galapagos Islands Cyber Field Trip

Mandy Williams' Expedition Journal
Day Two

Click on the photo to see an enlargement.

Today was our first full day on the boat. We woke up with plenty to do. However, no productive day can begin without a good breakfast, so it was off to the dining room at 7 a.m. Breakfast was absolutely wonderful! I limited myself to a bowl of cereal and some fruit. After breakfast there wasn't much time to waste before we needed to leave for the island of Española.

bull sea lionUpon our arrival to the island we were greeted by a great big male sea lion. He was sitting high up on the rocks just sort of basking in the sun and calling out to the females every so often. It was remarkable to see one up so close. There were also several females lying out on the rocks and a few more to our left on the sand and in the water.

Sally Lightfoot CrabThe rocks were covered with small crabs that had deep red shells. They were very pretty against the drab color of the lava rock. In and among the crabs were a few marine iguanas, who were also basking in the sun. We got to see them crawling around and eating their main course, which consisted mostly of the algae that grows on the rocks down around the water.

Two of the adult female sea lions each had a new baby. The pups were simply adorable. They were climbing all over their mothers and trying to find where to nurse. One little guy made his way up to where we were standing and seemed to make friends with an iguana.

Alan Alda being filmedWe walked along the trail as the PBS crew did some more filming with Alan Alda. The path led us right to a lot of boobies. We saw two different kinds of the birds. The masked boobies were the ones we saw the most of. Several of them were covering up chicks. I learned that they don't sit on them to keep them warm, but actually cover their young to shade them and keep the chicks cool. Then we got to see the blue-footed boobies. There were only two that we could find. blue-footed booby and baby

Once our work was done, we headed back to the raft and then back to the ship. We had time to clean up, and then it was back to the dining room for lunch. Another wonderful meal full of breads and fresh fruit, and chicken and ham. For dessert I helped myself to a piece of pecan pie.

After lunch it was finally play time. We put on our bathing suits, grabbed our snorkel gear and loaded into the rafts. Our guides took us out to a beautiful spot next to a very large rock the water. The water was very clear and, I might add, quite chilly. The coral and fish beneath us were amazing. It was so much fun that I soon forgot that the water had seemed cold earlier.

Then one of my greatest dreams came true! I looked over and saw next to me in the water a giant green sea turtle! He was right next to me. I followed him in the water and he swam directly under me. He was beautiful and it was completely amazing!

After the snorkeling we dropped off a few people at the ship, and the rest of us went back out to the beach. I've never seen whiter sand or clearer water. The beach is very serene, and since the animals are protected they have no fear of humans -- they are not hesitant to be near you. seal nursingI came across a group of four sea lion pups playing together in the sand. I got down in the sand to take pictures of them on their level, and it wasn't long before they were approaching me to investigate. I was even lucky enough to get a kiss on the face from one of the little cuties. I couldn't believe it.

Soon, however, we had to leave and come back to the ship. What an exciting day it has been! I can't wait to see what adventures tomorrow holds. For now I'm off to go eat dinner. See you tomorrow!


Read Sherri's Day Two Journal

Day 1 new entry Day 3


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
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