The Galapagos Islands




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       Sea lions wander off the beach and lounge around on the park benches in the town square.   Here, Robert sharing a spot in the shade...





           We hiked to one of the local beaches called La Loberia, which is a sea lion colony.  It is a beautiful spot with the black volcanic rocky coastline contrasting with the clear blue ocean.  This is also a popular surfing beach (although avoiding the rocks would be quite a feat!)





      A young sea lion "catching some rays" at La Loberia







                             One hike brought us up to this point overlooking the harbor where there was an old Ecuador Navy cannon.  It still swings around 360 degrees as the "big kid" found out...







Isla Isabela



     One of many marine iguanas we encountered along the trail to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center






                                                                                 The "Red Lagoon" on the way to the Breeding Center






        The Giant Tortoise Breeding Center is working to re-establish the population of these tortoises (also called "Galapagos" here).  They collect the eggs from around the island and incubate them at the center.  Then raise the tortoises until they are big enough to go back to their natural habitat.  One of the problems is the island has been overrun with dogs, cats, goats, pigs and rats, which destroy the young tortoises themselves or destroy the habitat they need to survive.  Programs are currently in force to try to control these animal populations.  This particular tortoise is 35 years old...





      This tortoise was in the middle of lunch when we came upon him.  He has the face only a Mother could love.....





      This "Galapagos" was going in for a swim and would not turn around for the camera.  He is the oldest resident at the Breeding Center -- 95 years old!!






                                                                                       Blue-footed boobie on jetty in anchorage at Isla Isabela









     Galapagos Penguin (one of many) on the jetty in the anchorage stopping to pose for a picture.










                                      Elyse with "Lucho", stopping for lunch on the way to the top of the volcano Chico.





     Robert with "Rodriguez", his partner in crime to the volcano







                            Hiking along the barren lava fields on the way to the top of the crater of Volcano Chico, which erupted about 10-15 years ago.





      Finally reached the top.   Robert (right) here with  Canadian couple, Dennis and Rejane from the boat "Ciel & Mer" who were along on the hike with us.








      Local buoy tenders:    we watched from the anchorage as this lighted sea buoy was being towed back out to mark the reefs around the entrance channel to Puerto Villamil (tow line noted in right hand corner of picture).  It looked great with it's fresh coat of paint, and new triangular day mark.  We just wouldn't want to approach this buoy at night -- notice the GREEN light!!!  Should we take this to port or starboard??






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