This morning started off with a change of plans. The weather forecast for Thursday was showing some pretty rough waves, so the hotel suggested that we do the boat ride originally scheduled for Thursday today.
So Bethany took some gravol with breakfast, and then we boarded the same boat that made her sick yesterday for a two hour journey to Santa Fe island.
Whether it was the gravol, the chewing gum, a resolute fixation on the horizon or a combination of all three, Bethany stayed healthy during the journey, so we boarded the Zodiac for the transfer to the island, where we met some sea lions on a nice sand beach.
We had to keep our distance from the two bulls that had the beach divided between them, as well as the newborn babies and their protective mothers, but the other members of the colony were friendly.
After learning more about sea lions we took a small hike onto the island to observe some land iguanas, a Galapagos hawk as well as some sea lions that were hiding from the bulls.
During breeding season, September through December, sea lion bulls stake out and claim a small section of beach, barking fairly regular to scare off other males and attract females. But while doing this they have no opportunity to eat or rest, so get tired. After two to three weeks their bark gets weaker and a fresher sea lion comes in to successfully challenge the bull. After being chased off, the sea lion will climb up an inhospitable beach and up into the higher rocks to rest, recuperating for his next beach challenge.
We then got back on the Zodiac to get our wetsuits and snorkels for perhaps the highlight of the entire trip: playing with the baby sea lions.
The baby sea lions loved playing games with us. One of them was like chicken. They’d race towards us at full speed, flipping away when they got within in inch or two of us. Sometimes they’d be close enough that they’d brush us with their whiskers!
After playing with the sea lions for a while, we switched to deeper ocean to view a variety of fish in various sizes and colors. I did catch a quick glance of a ray, but after I popped my head up to call Bethany over who had the camera it was gone.
We saw another shark or two, but no sea turtles. By the time we were down to about five of the original twelve swimmers. Our guide asked us if we’d like to find some sea turtles, so we headed off on an extended swim through what seemed like half the bay in search of some turtles. Eventually we gave up and headed back to the boat for some lunch.
I had a nice lunch; Bethany limited herself to plain spaghetti and a little bit of dessert to try and prevent sea sickness on the ride home.
My best defence against sea sickness is taking a nap, so I did that while I left Bethany to her own defenses for the ride back to Santa Cruz island.