Our once-in-a-lifetime adventure to the Galapagos Islands began with a stop on Playa Ochoa, where we spotted the “Mystery Fish” featured in our previous post while snorkeling.
When we returned to the shore, we found this playful sea lion pup looking out to sea, with what appeared to be his mother keeping a watchful eye on his every move.
READ MORE: Galapagos Islands Animals (Photo Essay)
Sometimes, as a photographer, you get shots that look much cooler in print than you remember them being in real life. I’m still not sure how this Brown Pelican managed to be so perfectly lit by the setting sun, while the cliffs of Kicker Rock behind him were covered in shadow.
The Galapagos skies were cloudy for a significant portion of our week-long trip, but on the first night there wasn’t a single cloud to be found, making for a picture perfect sunset as we wound down our day with an evening cruise to the island of Genovesa (a.k.a. Tower).
This is a breeding pair of Swallow-tailed Gulls, an endemic Galapagos species that also happens to be the only fully nocturnal gull and seabird in the world. The pairs frequently stay together, breeding year after year. I was spellbound by their crazy red-ringed eyes and the tenderness of their courtship, as they groomed each other’s feathers on the beach, not far from where another gull was tending to her young.
One of the most amazing things about Galapagos wildlife, aside from its sheer diversity, was how little the animals seemed to be disturbed by our presence as long as we adhered to the 6-foot distance rule. This lovely sea lion on the Genovesa beach almost appeared as if she were posing for the photographers in our group while her friends napped contentedly all around her. But eventually, she gave in and settled down for a morning siesta.
I was totally obsessed with taking pictures of the Booby’s feet. You would seriously not believe how many shots I took in search of the perfect one. Thank god for digital cameras…
My favorite sighting on Genovesa was definitely this sea lion. Like most of her kind, her lifestyle seemed the very definition of “relaxation,” but it was the manner in which she did it that made her unusual. Lying on her back, flippers folded across her chest, she would tilt her head back into the water and blow bubbles, over and over again. Occasionally she would lift her head out of the water and look around at all of us looking at her, with bemused grins on our faces, as if to say, “What?! Can’t a girl blow bubbles without it being a media event?!” It was hysterical, and a fitting end to our morning on Genovesa. –by Bret Love, photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS DAY 5- Photo Gallery: Santa Cruz & Espanola
Wildlife of the Galapagos video series: Part I, Sea Lions
PHOTO GALLERY: The Beauty of Galapagos Birds