Monday, December 5, 2011

Leon Dormida and San Cristobal Islands

29 Nov 2011

After another long overnight cruise, we arrived at Leon Dormida Island, just off the coast of San Cristobal Island.  Most people are becoming acclimatised to the boat now, and most managed a decent nights sleep, despite the slight swell.

The boat hadn't anchored and we slowly cruised around the impressive lava cliffs of Leon Dormida, or Sleeping Lion in spanish.  We had been expecting loads of sea birds to be nesting on the cliffs, but the birds don't really have predators, so most nest in low bushes or on the ground. We did see a few Blue-footed Boobies and Frigate birds roosting in bushes though.

Leon Dormida Island

We then had breakfast whilst the boat cruised on to Puerto Baquarizo Moreno on southern San Cristobal Island.  This is quite a big port and we came ashore onto a jetty in the middle of town.  A bus was waiting to take us to the Interpretation Centre where we learned more about the formation of the islands, the colonisation by birds, animals and plants and finally a bit about the human history of the islands, including inevitably Charles Darwin.

Puerto Baquarizo Moreno - San Cristobal

Back in town we were free to wander around for an hour or so, and most took the chance to visit the tourist shops on the sea-front and have a beer or coffee.  We ate an icecream sitting on bench by the sea, with two Sea-Lions sound asleep underneath the bench next to us!

Basking Sea-Lion on the Promenade

We had lunch on board, then returned to the port and a trip to a beach just outside town for some snorkelling.  The sea was quite rough and the bay a bit stony, but immediately I put my head in the water I encountered a large female Turtle.  As I swam around I found two more turtles cruising around in the shallow water.  As usual, we shared the beach with Sea-Lion.  The dominant Bull cruises up and down the beach, sometimes lurching up on to shore if it spots another male trying to sneak in for a look at his harem of female Sea-Lions.

Bull Sea-Lion - beach-master

We did see a tourist deciding to rush into the water for a swim, whilst the male was passing.  The bulls can be aggressive, but in this instance got close enough to frighten the errant swimmer.

Passengers from Galapagos Voyager landing at the jetty

After an hour of lazing in the beach, we headed back into town and hopped on the dinghys back to the boat.

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