Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lobos and Penguinos


Sea lions--lobos del mar (sea wolves)--are just about everywhere on the Galapagos.  On shore, they are essentially "rock potatoes" that laze about and bask in the sun.  In the water, they are active, playful, and just stunning to watch in action.  

I did catch sight of one, briefly, underwater on one of our snorkeling trips.  Even more surprising and delightful was what happened one evening when Anya and I went to the beach on Isabela for a 1/2 hour before dinner.  I was strict with the girl, only letting her go up to her knees or so because the pull of the tide was strong (she is not a strong swimmer as yet).  To make up for this imposed limitation, she started riding the waves in to shore.  After about 15 min of this, a sea lion (looked like a youth--small) swam up within about 1-2 yards of her.  Not sure how truly "friendly" they are, I had her back up a bit, and it swam away.  I think he/she was curious about the human child that was playing in the waves as if she were a sea lion herself!  

And of course--I did not have my camera b/c I was keeping an eye on my own little playful creature.

And then there are Galapagos penguins.  Cute, like all penguins--and again, amazing to watch when swimming.  One of the few benefits of waiting for boats to take us between islands was that we could watch penguins and sea lions swimming in the harbor.  We also got to see pelicans torpedo-dive for fish (very cool).  No pics of pelicans in the air, but here's one by the shore:
I have come to the conclusion that pelicans are to the Galapagos what seagulls are to the New England coast: rats with wings.  But, not being from the Galapagos, I found pelicans much more delightful and interesting than seagulls.

It was not all positive with these creatures in the water and near the shore, though.  Upon our return from one trip, we saw this sea lion on the dock:
It had somehow lost its tail...which means that, by now, it's probably dead.  Terribly sad.  We tell the kids--and ourselves--that this is all cycle of life, the truth of nature.  And it is.  But somehow it's still hard to see those sweet lobos in this kind of condition.  

Tomorrow: black beasts...

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