Galapagos Diaries - Day 2 - San Cristobal

Posted by Lisa Pagotto

View from the cabin this morning
View from the cabin this morning

Peering out my curtains, a mauve sunrise greeted me. Arriving into Cerro Brujo, a breathtaking white beach, by wet landing (a wet landing is where you slide over the side of the side of the panga into the water, usually knee deep or so) and began a gentle stroll along the sandy shoreline which offered views to forever and amazing bird watching opportunities.

Cerro Brujo
Cerro Brujo

Families of sea lions dotted the shores as they lazed carefree, looking like large boulders, scarlet Sally Lightfoot crabs scattered themselves over the jagged lava. The rough ocean threw its force forth attempting to wash them off, but to no avail. They clung on with Spiderman like grip.

Sally Lightfoot Crabs battling the rough waves
Sally Lightfoot Crabs battling the rough waves

It was a casual, slow paced morning of discovery as we all walked at our own pace and took in what was of most interest to us individually. Behind the white sandy bay, bubbled but rigid rusty red lava had once flowed and solidified. Scattered sparsely with straggly bushes, only occasionally was there a splash of living green. Stark frightful cacti pierced the lunar like landscape, making it seem that simply by turning 90 degrees, you were in another world or perhaps on another island.

We were not to explore this area though. These were the sea turtles breeding grounds.

Sandy beach meets lava
Sandy beach meets lava

Walking back along the talcum like sand, toes sinking, ankles lapped by turquoise waters, it was time to suit up in our 3mm wetsuits, grab a snorkel and hit the water.

Time for snorkelling
Time for snorkelling

I had barely put my fins on let alone submerged myself into the water, when a playful and inquisitive sea lion came to join us. He glided alongside us, weaved in and out, sniffed our GoPro camera and had a little nibble on the tip of my fin. He popped his head up right in front of mine as if to say 'hello' and then tempted you to chase him as he swirled, twirled and flipped with acrobatic precision.

 

 

Snuggle time
Snuggle time

When we were of no use to him, he waddled passed us to the nearest end of the beach where a lone sea lion was basking in the sun. The pup called as he approached and was barked off by the larger solitary sea lion. He then turned around and saw us all again still sitting in the water and came running towards us as fast as his little fins could carry him on the sand only to realise again, that we are not his Mummy either and we cannot help. He continued on his mission to the far end of the beach where a cluster of six sea lions laid, huddled together, snuggling. Fins over each other, noses kissing. As the pup approached each one individually, he was rejected, barked at, snapped at, snarled at, aggressive fins swiped at him and pushed him away. It was heart breaking.

There was one last lone sea lion left sleeping against the cliff face. He slowly waddled over for one last shot, and unfortunately, no this story didn't have a happy ending. That was not his mother either. It was heart wrenchingly devastating to witness.

It was time for us to return to the ship, none of us wanting to leave this little bubba behind, but our naturalist assured us that his mother had just gone fishing…

Crooked Compass travelled with Ecoventura on board MY Eric.

Sunset
Sunset

Looking for more Animal Encounters or Natural Phenomena to include in your travels? Download and search the Crooked Compass Travel App for inspiration or join our next Galapagos Expedition!