Rábida: Snorkeling & Beach Time

Monday, 9 July (Part VI)

The second part of our landing on Rábida followed the same game plan as this morning.  Mui went snorkeling, and I wandered the beach to see what I could see at my own pace.  The landslide at the far side of the landing site short-circuited my plans, but what can I say — you do what you can do.

This is as far as I have permission to walk on the beach.

When I interviewed Mui after the snorkeling, he said that it was different from his experience at Santiago.  There was more wave action here, and the water was more blurry.  The naturalist he spoke with attributed the blurriness to the plankton in the water.  Mui also said that there was more schooling fish at this site, and the snorkeling area was smaller in comparison to this morning.  He was once again glad for the double layer protection of his snorkeling skin and wetsuit, which allowed him to stay out for the duration of the snorkel.

Here’s a short one-minute video of his experience.

Enjoy the colorful fish and the marine iguana at the end of the clip.

My slow walk down the beach didn’t gain me any new wildlife sightings, but I enjoyed my quiet time, sitting with some of the animals and watching their behavior.  Here are some of my favorite shots from my “my time.”

The sun-bleached skeletal remains of a sea lion reminds us that death is never far off.

I sat with this sea lion for a while, hoping it would open its eyes for a nice portrait.
short of peering at me briefly when I first sat down, he didn’t acknowledge my presence.

What most people know as a starfish is more accurately named a sea star.
I didn’t know that, but it makes sense.  After all, they are not a fish but an echinoderm,
a relative of sea urchins and sand dollars.

Against the red sand of Rábida, the lava lizards (above and below) stand out more.

Lava Lizard - Ravida Island9 July 2012

A Darwin’s Finch — I’m going to hazard a guess and say it’s a medium ground finch.
[based on research in avibase.]

When I returned to the landing site, snorkelers were starting to come out of the water, so I stuck around to see what photo-ops might present themselves while I waited for Mui to drag himself away from the water.

I think this kid — the youngest passenger
on the ship — was hoping this sea lion would
play with him; but it didn’t cooperate.

Sally lightfoot crab
(with selective color processing)

The sea lion family that greeted us when we first landed had moved out of the cave and were out in the open.  At first, the pup showed little interest in anything but nursing.  Soon, however, its playful nature started to show through.  Before long, proud papa (?) got into the game too, and entertained us for a while.

Hamming it up for the cameras.

Forget the pup, take a photo of me!

What are these stinky things, anyway!

And just to show you that these creatures of the Galápagos could care less about us …

We returned to the ship on the last panga, cleaned up, and downloaded our photos and videos.  The piña colada cocktail party was in full swing when we joined everyone else in the Discovery Lounge for the briefing at 7:30p.

I have to say that I am a little disappointed in these briefings.  To be sure, there is useful information presented about the next day’s activities.  But it sure would be great if there was also a short review of the current day’s activities.  Sort of an after-action report and a Q&A session.  I dare not say that this could replace ‘happy hour’, but it could easily be incorporated as part of it.  I think I’ll make that suggestion when we get the cruise survey at the end of our voyage.

After signing up for tomorrow’s activities, we joined the Passmans for dinner.  Good food, but better company.  My all-time favorite appetizer from the Celebrity menu was available tonight — mushroom feuilette.  I should have skipped the main course and doubled up on the appetizer instead :-)

Our selections from the Day 2 Menu.

After dinner, we took advantage of the clear sky to do some stargazing.  The bow on deck 6 was pitch dark and we had to be very careful making our way out there.  It was oh so worth it!  Simply amazing.  Crystal clear skies with millions of stars twinkling and the Milky Way clearly visible.  Just spectacular.

Without a tripod, I didn’t even try to capture a shot.  Instead, here’s one that someone else took from Floreana Island, further south in the archipelago.  What we saw was similar.  Definitely “a picture is worth a thousand words” moment …

The Milky Way as it should look...

The Sagittarius Portion of the Milky Way by shadowdoc31.
[Click the photograph to see it in the source gallery.]

A great conclusion to a great day in the Galápagos.  Another island awaits us tomorrow.


  1. ahhh...a glass of wine and Erin's photos! Three long days of working and now I get to relax and read about a magical place...I guess I am reading backwards but who cares with that starry sky above.

  2. Another great video and more beautiful pictures. You know the reason why the local animals aren't afraid of the tourists? They're paid to pose, of course.

  3. Brandy and Bortle Class2 Dark Sky, the perfect Galapagos Lullaby.
    Tucked way out here in one of the outer spiral arms, from the comfort of our puny Solar System in the boondocks of our Milky Way Galaxy, it's delicious fun to look directly into that magical, crowded central plane.
    When you admire those great, dense star clouds in Sagittarius, you are in fact looking directly toward our humble system's 30,000-light-year-distant center. Always remembering there are billions of other Galaxies.
    Wows me. Pretty cool :) So glad you stumbled up there to catch the view.

  4. [re-posted from Fodor's]
    Your pictures and commentary are wonderful.

  5. [re-posted fm Fodor's]
    Thanks again for posting...your pictures and write ups are great!

  6. This is such a fantastic review! The info you provide, the gorgeous pictures and the fabulous snorkeling video is an inspiration. We hope to go in 2014.