Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Celebrity Xpedition - Day 3 North Seymour Island

North Seymour Island is located at the central area of the Archipelago, just north of Baltra. Following the mandatory Life Boat Drill, the ship's Zodiacs began loading passengers for our first activity.

There were two options, a High Intensity Activity - Dry Landing at North Seymour Island and a Low/Medium Intensity Activity - Zodiac Ride and Dry Landing. In order to accomodate all passengers, the Zodiacs first drop the groups doing the dry landing on the island and then return for those that opted for the medium intensity activity.

You may be wondering what a Dry Landing is. It is exactly as it sounds. You can wear hiking boots or any other sort of comfortable shoes without fear of them getting wet. It is advisable to wear sturdy, yet comfortable shoes and use a hiking stick on most Dry Landings.

Those that took the Dry Landing walked on an uneven path which took them inland to observe frigate birds and possibly Land Iguanas. Eventually, they arrived at a beach area where Galapagos Sea Lions, Blue Footed Boobies, and Marine Iguanas were observed.

We opted for the Zodiac ride along the coastline which searched for Galapagos Fur Seals, Lava Herons, and Swallow Tailed Gulls. The Geology of this reqion is quite impressive due to the limestone trapped between two layers of basalt lava.

Following the Zodiac ride, we too made a dry landing on North Seymour Island where we hiked along a portion of the trail observing Blue Footed Boobies, Galapagos Sea Lions, Marine Iguanas, and Frigate Birds. The male Frigate Birds have red throat pouches that extend to attract the females. Blue Footed Boobies have blue webbed feet. We'll see them again later in the week.

The only difference between the two activities was the length of the hike. In both cases, you had a good opportunity to see the inhabitants of North Seymour. Our Cruise Director had joked that we would take our first 300 pictures of Sea Lions during this activity. That wasn't far from the truth since we definitely did see quite a few of them during our visit.  View our Galapagos - North Seymour Island  album.

We boarded our Zodiacs for the return ride to the ship which was anchored nearby. Back onboard, Captain Fausto Pacheco, Master of the M'V Xpedition and his officers welcomed us with a toast which was followed by the briefing of the next day's activities. Our first day in Galapagos had been amazing. There hardly are words to describe our first experience following in Darwin's footsteps.

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