Galapagos Hawk captured by John

Saturday and we anchored off Chinese Hat Island at about 06:30. It is a small volcanic island named because of its shape. We cruised around a bit in the zodiac hoping to see the Galápagos penguins, but they were not being cooperative and we only caught a glimpse of one head in the water.

Galapagos hawk

Still interesting with lots of colourful Sally Lightfoot crabs clinging to the rocks and a lava heron surveying the scene. A wet beach landing and a fascinating long walk amongst the weirdly shaped lava, with outcrops and lava tubes. Here there were marine iguanas and lots of sea lions, many with young pups, perhaps just a week or two old. Watching for pickings here was the island’s predator, the Galapagos hawk. Apart from this, not many birds, except for a few finches.Back to the boat and changed into wetsuits for another drop off for deep water snorkelling. This time the water was much more clear and we saw some beautiful, colourful fish such as king angelfish, razor and gold rim surgeonfish, damselfish and various parrotfish. Also a big white tip reef shark cruising along the bottom.

yellow crowned night heron

No penguins, unfortunately!This afternoon we sailed to Mosquera Islet, a small sandy cay, but before we boarded the zodiacs, we watched a a pair of quite large Galapagos sharks circling the boat! We had a relaxing time on the islet watching the antics of sea lions with their pups and the older pups playing in the surf. There was also a dramatic contest between the sea lions and three frigate birds, with the frigates diving to take fish from the mouths of the sea lions – one time when they succeeded, a pelican which had been watching from the shoreline, dived and took the catch from the beak of the frigate! Out to sea, I saw a commotion in the water with lots of frigates swooping and then there were penguins diving in and out of the water, trying to save their food from the pirates. Just before returning, I spent ages just standing on the rocks watching a yellow crowned night heron stalking the Sally Lightfoot crabs, but the crabs were just too fast.Another super wildlife day…