Monthly Archives: September 2015

Galapagos Part 4: Rabida + Santa Cruz

Arnold: i can only imagine if “On the Origin of Species” had been written by you instead of Darwin

“Fig 18: Variations in cuteness of bird butts correlated with cuteness of local flora”

In the morning — a hike around Rabida, followed by some snorkeling (pictures from that to come later…)

Rabida Beach
The view of our boat from the beach.

Galapagos Hawk
A Galapagos hawk in flight — it’s tagged!

Vermillion Fly Catcher
Fat bird with a red hat (vermillion fly catcher)

In the afternoon, we took a zodiac around Eden Inlet to look for sharks and rays. They’re pretty hard to see in the water.

Sea Cucumber Fishermen
Some fishermen (maybe sea cucumber?) hanging out.

Small unpuffed pufferfish

Supposed Shark
I swear this looked more like a shark in person…

Everything Rock
One stop animal rock — pelicans, sea lions, sally crabs & marine iguanas.

Galapagos Part 3: North Seymour + Sullivan Bay

The morning in North Seymour:
We went on a leisurely walk to look at frigates, blue footed boobies, and iguanas and, as always, sea lions.

Booby showing off?
And the famous blue footed booby is on this island! Wooo.

Two lizards trying to eat each other. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a lava lizard, but I’m not sure what it is.

Hiding iguana
This land iguana started following our group as we walked down the beach, when I turned around, it flattened itself and closed its eyes. I guess it could pretend I wasn’t there?

So derp
These birds are hilarious looking.

Sea lion naps
SO CUTE. Galapagos sea lion — smaller cousins of the California sea lion.

Sitting frigate
Puff. Male frigate hanging out.

Flying frigate
Male frigate flying around.

This is what most of the island seems to look like.

I didn’t get a picture of the booby dance, but I got one of head scratches!

more landscape
And, as usual, the Galapagos isn’t a lush paradise. It’s covered in poop.

Then the afternoon in Sullivan Bay, Santiago:
We took a zodiac out to look for a penguin colony, then went on a hike across the lava flow (It’s 100-150ish years old, so fairly “recent”)

Galapagos penguin!
A Galapagos penguin!

Molting Galapagos penguin
And a funny looking one that’s molting. Looks like its wearing a fur hat…

Grumpy looking heron
Blue heron

A sally crab eating its buddy…

Lava flow
Apparently lava can look like cake batter

More lava flows
Or noodles

Bubble thing
Or… I don’t even know what this looks like.

Cinder cones
Cinder cones from a distance

Galapagos Part 2: Genovesa

Day 1! The guests were split up into two groups, and went on two different activities, then switched in the afternoon.

My morning was the exploration of Prince Philip’s Steps. The internet indicated that it the steps would be steep and hiking poles necessary… but not really. I think my mom mostly used her poles for waving.

Red Footed Booby
First up, a red-footed booby hangout in the tree right after we finished climbing up the steps to the island.

Nazca Booby & Chick
And a nazca booby and it’s chick. The chicks look so derpy. After this picture, the chick proceeded to try to attack someones walking stick, then my shoe. I guess mom wasn’t feeding it enough.

Nazca Chick
A close up of the chick, after it attacked my shoe.

Nazca Butt
Nazca booby taking off. Bird butts!

Headless redfooted booby
This would have been a cool picture if I could aim.

I don't remember what.
I forgot what this little guy is called. Oops.

The trails are all marked, so you know where you’re allowed to walk.

Sleep like you're dead
This nazca booby was still breathing. Asleep I guess?

I guess being a baby frigate bird can be depressing? So sad looking!

Lava Cacti
Lava cacti! A pioneer plant that prepares soil for future plants. These were pretty cute. (Yes, I think plants are cute)

Nazcas getting it on
Some nazca boobys getting it on. It lasted a few seconds.

Macro time
Why bring a macro if you don’t stare intently at birds?

This is what the island looks like
In case you thought the Galapagos was a lush rainforest… Nope.

Sea turtle!
And a sea turtle Jonny spotted from our room while I was taking a shower. I totally thought he was trolling me when he started yelling “turtle! turtle!” but when I finished showering, it was still there.

In the afternoon, we went to Darwin Bay.

Lava Gull
Here’s a lava gull.

Sally Lightfoot crab
And a sally crab. Our guide, Jairo, said you’re not allowed to eat them anymore, but they didn’t have much meat, so they weren’t great anyway. Darnit.

The park rules weren’t always so strict. The Ecuadorian navy used to have traditions of graffiti-ing parts of the archipelago.

A little stingray! Hanging out a couple feet from the edge of the water.

Cacti living right next to the ocean. These ones have softer spines too.

Frigate & baby
Baby frigate & a parent.

Sea lion
Sea lion faces.

Darwin's finch
A darwin finch.

Red Footed Booby
Red footed booby going bwaaaaaagh. They sound like dinosaurs.

Galapagos Part 1: Baltra

Baltra, the island that houses one of the Galapagos’ two airports

Last week, we celebrated my mom’s birthday by visiting the Galapagos with Silversea Expeditions. I didn’t bring a laptop, so here’s my attempt at catching up on notes & cleaning up my photography.

Safety Drill

Day one, we flew into Baltra (from Guyaquil, from Quito, from Miami, from San Francisco) where we took a short bus ride, then a Zodiac to our home for the next week — the Silver Galapagos. On board, we met the staff, the guides & did a life vest drill. Then ate a bunch and slept.


To keep all my favorite recipes in one place, reposting (with sliiiight modifications) Kottke’s world’s best pancake recipe.

2 cups flour
scant 2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
4 tbsp melted butter + extra butter for frying
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten

Get the pan nice and hot, melt a non trivial amount of butter in it, then fry up these pancakes.

Or griddle them at 325-350F.