Friday, August 30, 2013

Sunday the 21st

It`s the 21st and tomorrow my wonderful neighbors and friends are moving to Hideaway Hills. Kimberly and Lance are such good people and have been like family to me. I will miss them terribly but know that this move is something they have wanted and will be a kind of fresh start for them. The pictures of the house on line are amazing, the house is only 5 years old, has lots of room and amenities. It sits on 2 and 1\2 acres of wooded land. There`s a big fenced in yard that Annie will love. I hope to see them from time to time but know it will never be the same. How many times did I run next door for help with a sick or stray animal. Lance built my computer and fixed my other electronics many times. They were so generous to share their dogs with me. Poe and Stella were the best and Annie has started to know and trust me. All good things must come to an end. I don't know if it's easier this way, to not be there to watch them go or if it will be harder to come home and they'll be gone.  Life lesson, enjoy what you have while you can.

 This morning we went in the dingies to Espinosa Point on Fernandina Island. A dry landing but onto wet volcanic rock. I'm so glad I bought a walking stick and dragged it along. There were some tidal pools where we disembarked then we walked a little way in and the ground became sandy. We saw a blue heron, lots of Sally lightfoot crabs, some sea lions, a cormorant on a nest, a turtle in the water and BUNCHES of marine iguanas. Unbelievable, they are the same color as the volcanic rock so in spots you have to be careful not to step on them. There were large groups everywhere, just hanging out, warming up so they could get in the water to eat the algae. Indira told us that only the males dive into the water. The females and juveniles wait til the tide goes out and eat the algae off the exposed rocks. After they are in the water they sneeze out the salt to avoid getting too much salt in their systems. Fernandina is the youngest of the Galapagos Islands, considered the best preserved and only pristine island in the world. This means it has no introduced species on it, only endemic flora and fauna. There was also a partial skeleton of a whale here. The guides said the carcass was found on the beach and looked like a baby born prematurely or possibly a stillborn. Someone decided to move the  bones  from  the  shore  up  to  higher  ground  and  reassemble the  spine.  The guides said  they  usually  don`t  do  that  type of  display  but  decided not  to  remove  it.  There  was  also  a  skull  of  a  sea  lion  and  one  of  a  bottle  nose  dolphin. Indira  showed  us  the  remains  of  a marine  iguana  and  explained  that  the  land  iguanas  and  lava  lizards  have  round  tails.  The  marine  iguana`s  tail  is  more  flat,  resembling  an  eel,  and  that  he  uses  it  to  propel  himself  thru the  water.  We  saw  pineapple rinds,  orange  and grapefruit peels  on  the  beach.  I was surprised because until  then  I  had  not  seen one bit  of trash.   Indira  said  that  the  boats  are  allowed  to  dump  a certain amount  of  organic materials into  the  ocean  and  sometimes  the  currents  bring  it  on  shore.   If the  guides see  a  lot  of  material  or  any  trash,  they  notify  the  park  service  and the  rangers  come and  pick  it  up.   I  am  very  thankful  for  all the  work the  guides and  rangers  do  to  protect these  islands  so  we can  visit  these  wonderful   places.  We  finished  the  morning  with  snorkeling,  I  saw  several  sea turtles,  sea  urchins  and different types  of  fish.  The haze  burned  off  and  the  water  was  more  clear  than  yesterday  which made  visibility  much  better.
Sunday afternoon: Vicente  Roca Point  on  Isabela  We  took  the  dingy  out  and  cruised along the  coast  at  Vicente  Roca Point.  The  rock  face  is  very  interesting geologically,  at  one  point  you  can  see  ash  traveling  on top  of  volcanic  rock. We saw dykes, long lines that were fissures that later  filled  with  lava.  We  saw  turtles, sea  lions, fur seals, a  manta ray jumped up for us,  penguins on  the  rocks, iguanas  and  crabs.  Also  blue footed  boobies,  cormorants,  frigates,  and noddies.   This place is  unimaginable unless you see it for yourself. 

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