The Marine Iguanas seem to be the most popular among the local inhabitants and everyone else wants to hang out and be seen with them, especially the seals…

We both received numerous stings from the tentacles of these abundant and nearly invisible creatures but most of the damage was superficial and vanished after a few hours.

Galapagos Islands - Part 3                                         December 4, 2014

Much like puppies whose full grown size can be determined by the size of the feet they will eventually grow into, Giant Tortoises appear fresh from the shell (they’re hatched after all) with both humongous feet and a giraffish neck…

Well…that was them!  So much for Galapagos Flamingos.

Another of the amazing features of this area is the diversity of plant life to be found…

As abundant and varied as the plant and marine life are, the avian populace is every bit as diverse.  Here are a few species we have already included and a few that we haven’t…

The question here: Is that bird sneaking up on the little crab to snag a quick meal or is the little crab baiting him closer so the big crab can pounce on him for lunch?

"Hey, Pal, mind if I hang with you guys 'til those damn Orcas go somewhere else to find lunch?"

And wherever those annoying males find the females, you will find those even more annoying tourists poking a camera in their faces…

At least they are no longer hunted by pirates and merchant seaman to be used as food.  Then again, pirates have been making a comeback in recent years so who’s to say what the future holds for these guys.

Another popular spot to view turtles on Santa Cruz Island is Bachas Beach where the female Green Sea Turtles come to lay their eggs.  Of course, where there are females, you will always find a few of those annoying males who simply can’t wait for the females to deposit their eggs and get back into the water…

Putting together this series of Updates has been a lot of fun and, at the same time, very frustrating for us.  This was truly a case of being overwhelmed with the number of pictures we had to choose from to include and leaving so many others on the “cutting room floor.”  We hope you’ve enjoyed them and perhaps are even inspired to cash out your kid’s college fund and head off to the equator.  Then you can buy one of those bumper stickers that read: “We’re Spending Our Kid’s Inheritance.”  We are!

See y’all next time.  Hugs, CC and me

The last of the islands we visited in the Galapagos Archipelago were San Cristobal, North Seymour and Santa Cruz.  It was here, Santa Cruz, that we viewed what is perhaps the one animal most iconic of these islands, the Giant Tortoise…

Much of this beach is off limits to human activity as the turtle nests are not very deep beneath the sand and are quite fragile.  Spotting a new nest is not too difficult.  You simply follow the flipper prints…

Flamingos are another inhabitant of the Galapagos Islands but spotting them is a rather hit or miss situation as there are only an estimated 314 of them in the Galapagos, and those are somewhat flighty.  Despite the slim odds, we managed to see 2 on the day we were there…

We did manage to get in one more day of snorkeling but got chased out of the water prematurely by a swarm of jellyfish…

I think we’ll close out this episode with a few gratuitous pictures of critters, geography and our fellow touristas…

In addition to an existence in the wild on Santa Cruz, Charles Darwin Station has an excellent breeding program to ensure not only the survival of the species but also their re-establishment on several of the islands they once inhabited.  Unfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous souls among humankind who pilfer the young tortoises and sell them to private zoos and collectors who are willing to pay as much as $10,000 for one.  They are now kept in locked compounds with round the clock security until they are released into the wild at 3 years of age…