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Santiago Island and Rabida Island Galapagos Day 6

Beginning our day with a panga ride, we were headed this time to Santiago Island.  Evidence of past attempts to settle the island are present soon after our landing along the beach.  A couple of ramshackled buildings and old fencing are all that remain, but the long term ramification of the business interests and settlers on the island are just starting to get under control due to intensive efforts by the Park Service.  Goats, pigs and donkeys were brought to the island back in the 1800's, and introduced plants and black rats continue to cause problems for the ecosystem.  Land iguanas which once flourished are extinct on the island.  Numerous sea lions lounged on the lava rock near the shore.

Following our walk, we enjoyed a snorkel just along the beachfront and appreciated the much
warmer, shallow waters.  Swimming in this area brought no new species to our list but it was a bit like moving around in an aquarium because of the density of sea life.

As we lunched and rested, the Letty moved to Rabida Island.  After this break, we did some deep-water snorkeling off our new destination.  Dozens of starfish, a few white-tip sharks, an eagle ray, and multiple other species joined our swim including a few seahorses which hid in rocks along the bottom.  We saw our first and only fur seals on the cliffs here, along with Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies.  After the snorkel and a hot shower, we headed to the rust-colored beaches of the island for a walk.  Multiple sea lions laid out in the shade of the nearby cliffs, along with marine iguanas.  A short trail leading inland allowed us to see a few endemic bird species but they didn't pose long enough for photos.

Now, we'll be moving back to Santa Cruz Island.

Yellow warbler on Rabida Island
Spotted eagle ray
Blue-footed boobies on the cliff
It must have been a rough night
White-tip shark
Last remnants of attempts at civilization on Santiago
Love on the rocks
Dinner time
And dinner time
Snorkeling along the cliffs


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