Friday, April 27, 2012

Island of Penguins

Hello fans, readers, and families!  As you know, we are currently undertaking a Galapagos cruise that is turning out to be a great success!  Every night, the entire group laughs, eats dinner, and gets to know each other better!  Today, we saw some impressive birds, weather, and fish! 

In the morning, after a quick breakfast, we ventured out in the dingy to look for birds.  As we began the ride, fog started to accumulate around the dingy.  We could just barely see the great cliffs lining the cove where the Daphne was docked.  And even the Daphne itself vanished behind us in the dense fog.  Soon, we were close enough to the cliffs to see them clearly.  They were about thirty meters high and, despite the eerie and dark fog, were covered in cheerful animals!  In places, giant surf pounded against the wall of volcanic rock.  As we watched, we saw many birds, but my favorites were the Blue Footed Boobies and the Flightless Cormorant.  I also liked seeing the penguins, both swimming in the water and standing proud on rocks.  At one point in the expedition, the boat motored inside a big cave.  I found this even more eerie and was happy to leave.  Later, our guide took us snorkeling in the area and we saw a couple of turtles, and some schools of fish.  The water was downright freezing and the visibility was only so so.  Neither did we know, there was better snorkeling ahead!  And so we left in the mighty boat the Daphne with three hours ahead of us until we would arrive in Togus Cove.

The Blue Footed Booby
The Daphne in the Mist

About a half an hour into our ride, Efrain stopped the Daphne.  Just off the boat, all of us could see a group of about ten fins slowly coming closer.  Our guide told us that these were the legendary Oceanic Sunfish.  I gasped!  I had heard about this fish before.  The Sunfish may be the weirdest and the rarest fish in the Galapagos.  The Sunfish is a circular marine swimmer with a diameter of about two meters.  It reminds me the most of a sea turtle swimming on his side.  On the top of the circular Sunfish is a long, thin dorsal fin with a matching fin below. The top fin was what the guide claimed we were staring at.  My dad stirred.  Then, finally, Dad asked our guide, Efrain, if we could take the dingy and go snorkel with the Sunfishes.  We all thought the idea was downright wacky, but somehow my dad, Andrew, Svetlana, and I found ourselves on a dingy, in the middle of the ocean.  Svetlana and I had only come to look from the boat and were still cold from the earlier snorkel.  Kasplosh!  Dad and Andrew were swimming only a couple feet from the Sunfish!  I was so excited for them and was sad that I did not get to see these legendary guardians of the sea. 

Finally, after sailing for a couple more hours, we came to Togus Cove  Here, we planned to spend the night and, for the time being, go out on yet another snorkel adventure!  Again, the magical dingy dropped us off in the water for our last snorkel of the day.  The water was cold but warmer than our first snorkel experience of the day.  It also helped that here, the sun shone bright and clear!  During this snorkel, we saw much amazing marine life.  I saw maybe five turtles, one penguin swimming under water and three above and, my favorite, the scorpion fish!

A Curious Flightless Cormorant
Can You Find the Scorpion Fish?

I am back on the boat and have warmed myself up!  I am getting an early start on the blog while my parents and the rest of the group are out on a hike.  While I write, I am remembering the amazing day!

Susie, Mom and Andrew Warming Up

Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic!

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