From the small beach we took the short loop trail through the Opuntia forest on the headland to the north, overlooking beach and bay. This trail is just 800 metres long and rated easy/moderate.Santa Fe is known for its own endemic species of Land Iguana, which is larger than those found on the other islands in the archipelago. They are also paler...more
The Blue-footed Boobies are funny looking birds, but also amazing with their bright blue feet and their special mating ritual. The Blue-footed Booby on Galapagos Islands is an endemic subspecies (Sula nebouxii excisa) and it is a common, with around 10 000 pairs.As the name indicate the Blue-footed Boobies have bright blue webbed feet. The bill is...more
The Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus wollebaeki) is an endemic subspecies. It is common, and there is a population of about 50 000 Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands. They can be seen in many places near the shores, on beaches, on the rocks or even in the towns (for example on a porch in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and at the Fish Market in...more
This was the first snorkelling opportunity we had during the cruise with M/S Cachalote. We snorkelled for a little bit more than an hour along the shore and then out over the sandy bottom. The visibility was not the best, but not too bad either. Being the first time I snorkelled in the Galapagos Islands it was also the first time I saw sea lions...more
The brown Pelican can be found in many areas along the American Pacific and Atlantic coasts, but on Galapagos Islands you will find the endemic subspecies Pelecanus occidentalis urinator. They can be found by the coast on most islands.The Brown Pelicans are large birds with a length of 105-152cm and a wingspan of 203-228cm. They have very long...more
The beautiful Sally Lightfoot crabs (Grapsus grapsus) can be seen all over the shores of the Galapagos Islands. With its bright orange colour it stands out from the black lava rocks where you often see them. The young ones are dark in colour though, and this make them well camouflaged on the rocks. The adult crabs can be as big as 20cm. Sally...more
The Painted Locust (Schistocerca melanocera) is endemic to the Galapagos Islands and it is common in the lowlands of all islands, except on Isla Española where it is not present. The Painted Locust is the largest insect on the Galapagos Islands and it can be up to 8cm long. The colour is black and bright yellow, red and green. It is a common prey...more
Lava LizardsLava Lizards are endemic to the Galapagos Islands and there are seven different species. The Galapagos Lava Lizard (Microlophus Albemarlensis) can be seen on several islands, and then there are the Española Lava Lizard, Floreana Lava Lizard, Marchena Lava Lizard, Pinta Lava Lizard, Pinzón Lava Lizard and the San Cristóbal Lava Lizard....more
The Galapagos Dove (Zenaida galapagoensis) is a beautiful bird with its characteristic bright blue ring around the eyes and red legs. The plumage has a reddish-brown colour with black and white markings on the wings. By the ears there are two black lines with a white band in-between. The lengths of the Galapagos Dove is around 18 - 23 centimetres....more
Barrington Bay is the only visitor site on Santa Fe. It is considered one of the most beautiful coves in the Galápagos, with its white sand and turquoise waters sheltered by a line of rocks and islets offshore. The landing here is a wet one. The cruise boats anchor some distance off shore because of that line of rocks and the ride in is a lovely one. We had to be careful as we arrived, as the Galápagos sea lion colony here is patrolled by a large and noisy bull. We gave him a wide berth as we waded ashore, walked up the sand and sat on a convenient rock to dry off our feet and slip into the trainers that are recommended for the trail here. I was later to see him a rather closer distance when snorkelling in the bay, and it was clear that he had been in more than a few fights!
Once we had all dried off, and put on trainers if we hadn’t landed in sandals, we turned our attention to the activity on the beach.
The second part of our morning here was devoted to snorkelling. I had been in two minds whether to join the group, as I was finding getting into the panga afterwards a bit of a challenge, and there was no option here to swim to the beach. But I decided to join the party, and it proved to be a great decision!
We were joined in our swim by a group of Galápagos sea lions, the females happy to play with us while the watchful alpha male who patrolled among them tolerated our intrusion but disdained to join the fun (see photo three). They stayed with us for a long while, and I was really pleased to be able to capture some of their antics on my waterproof camera, both on video, and these stills, just before its battery ran out! The sea lions seemed almost to know what I was doing, as they repeatedly swam towards me, peered at the lens and flipped gracefully away again. I was so happy to be able to capture these images of what was to be our last snorkelling session in the Galápagos – a fantastic one to end with!
This is my last tip about Santa Fe, so please click here to return to my intro page.
We landed here early, at around 7.00 am, well before those from either of the other two boats moored in the bay. As usual we were immediately drawn to the various Galápagos sea lions relaxing on the beach. The females here were patrolled by a noisy bull, who was guarding his harem from just off-shore. We soon spotted one female who was further up the beach, almost among the salt bushes that line the beach. Moving closer we saw that she had a newborn sea lion pup; she was still blooded from the birth and the placenta was lying on the sand nearby.
As we looked, we saw a couple of juvenile Galápagos hawks in the trees around the site, and more soon arrived. They sat there for a while, perhaps each waiting for another to make a move, or for the mother to be sufficiently distracted. Eventually one of the hawks dived in to grab the placenta, and they were soon all fighting over it, devouring it with gusto. Watching this activity from such close range really was just like seeing a wildlife TV documentary, but (literally) in the flesh!
I was able to get a short video of all the commotion, and to get some good action shots using the motor drive on my camera – luckily I had it running at the critical moment when one snatched the “treat”. Once the meal was over they retreated to the trees, presumably to rest and digest, and we were able to get very close for more photos, even capturing the blood that still lingered on their hooked beaks. Definitely one of my most memorable Galápagos experiences!
After this, our short walk through the Opuntia forest, though pleasant and interesting, was perhaps always going to be something of an anticlimax, but nevertheless we went in search of Land Iguanas.