Flights

Pre-dawn. The colors are ripening.

Left for a wee panga tour of Caleta Tortuga Negra, called Black Turtle Cove in our literature, on the north side of Santa Crúz island. We left at 6am, or dawn. First up: cattle egrets, still in overnight positions at 6:07am.

Less than thirty seconds later: the exodus begins. They fly way inland to feed all day.

About two minutes later; heading deeper in the cove. Sky color still eye-catching.

I could see the napping shark here with my eyes, but my otherwise talented camera could not. This cove is a shark nursery. We saw several young reef sharks and more adults in this cove.

Ducking to get deeper in the cove.

Sea turtle? Can’t remember.

We returned to the larger, outer cove in time to see a feeding frenzy. What you can’t see is that a shark (or perhaps two) came at a school of larger fish, which turned tail and scooted the only safe direction: up. And the birds could see this happening, and hunted the school from above. Carnivores.

Great egrets. Sleeping in compared to the cattle egrets. This was twenty-seven minutes after the cattle egret shots.

Heron, pretty sure, but don’t remember which one.

Rounding the Grace’s stern just before 7am, ending our last wildlife adventure.

We breakfasted while the captain moved Grace into position for us to disembark for the last time. Our breakfast assortment included tamale with a fat sliver of yummy cheese. The maize flour has far more flavor than boring MaSeCa.

The dock we’re headed to is behind that fancy sailing ship.

It’s our final panga ride, of course wearing our life-jackets, with one of these dangling on either side. Despite temptation, I never pulled one. 😎

Waiting for our plane to arrive; it was a little late. We left through Gate 3. While waiting a pair of finches were flying hither and yon beneath this high ceiling and far below that giant fan. One briefly landed on my hat as I sat quietly pondering our terrific trip. Of all things.

Our final steps on Galápagos were on Baltra Island, headed for our ride. Seats 5A and 5B.

Our bland, large, corporate hotel room near the Quito airport NNE of Quito in the next valley. We are clearly no longer on the Grace.

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