Sunbathing on the beach is an option, but you’ll likely share the cove with tuxedoed penguins and curious sea lions. Photo/Getty
As part of his wildlife-watching series, Brett Atkinson shares some of his favorite animal encounters. This week, he’s in the Galapagos, dodging languid sea lions and sneezing iguanas.
Food on board a La
With a fluid organization by the crew of the boat, the special experiences follow one another quickly. Only a few minutes after our desayuno interrupted by the cetaceans, it’s back in the inflatable Zodiacs for a wet landing on Isla Bartolome. Working on your tan on the beach is an option, but you’ll likely share the cove with tuxedoed penguins and curious sea lions. Equipped with snorkeling equipment, it is best to encounter the two species in their own environment. Penguins parade through the crystalline shallows, while beams of light pierce the indigo depths to reveal young sea lions twisting and turning like Cirque du Soleil performers. Soulful eyes make fleeting eye contact, then move away leaving the residue of a shadowy underwater wake. Later in the morning, I negotiate a sea kayak around a secluded cove. A sea lion nursery scurries beneath my slowly slipping orange hull, emerging to toss fragments of seaweed into the air, while on shore a solitary penguin drinks in the equatorial sun before awkwardly negotiating rocks to slide into the sea. ‘water.
With a total absence of large predators “in the Galapagos, the worst thing that can happen is a hawk attack,” he explains.
Since a hawk is no threat to a hardy iguana with an exoskeleton as tough as old boots, the species has evolved over centuries without any fear of predation.
“Elsewhere it’s an evolutionary advantage to flee when something unknown appears,” he continues, “but on the Galapagos there’s little chance of anything serious happening. It’s actually a evolutionary advantage of standing still and saving energy.”