Bartolome and Black Turtle Cove

David & Valerie Allen
Mon 22 Mar 2010 16:26
00:44.83 S   90:18.49 W

Saturday, March 20,2010      WILLIAM'S BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!

Last night was a special occasion for all of us.  The captain spotted an Orca just as we were setting out for our next destination and he followed it for at least half an hour while we watched with amazement.

We also crossed the line (again) for the fourth time in two days and received certificates from the captain and crew- written in Spanish.  

This morning I was ill, along with several other passengers, with some type of gastrointestinal bug.  Accordingly, Dave went to one of the most well-known parts of the Galapagos without me.  This was the small island of Bartolome, where many documentaries and films have been made, including one of Dave's favourites, Master and Commander.  I'll let the photos tell the story.

Starting out.  The destination?  The top of the hill!

More stairs!  (359 in total!)

We made it!!!!

View from the top!

After a brief rest (and, in my case a lot of Imodium), we set out (minus Dave this time- sailing does NOT develop climbing muscles and stamina!) for a snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, which you can see in the centre of the photograph.  It was a great last swim.  We saw a baby Black-Tipped Shark and an adult White-Tipped Shark.  In addition there was an octopus, a sea lion, a large grouper and many other beautiful fish.

After lunch we went for a tour through Black Turtle Cove, a mangrove area.  This was definitely not strenuous as we rode in the large dinghies.  We saw several turtles and a couple of baby sharks.  Mangroves are in shallow areas and are nurseries for numerous species.  The waters are too shallow for the big predators to enter.  We watched a male Pelican sitting in its nest guarding the eggs.  The females simply lay the eggs and leave the incubation and rearing to the male.

We saw a Great Blue Heron....

and the signature bird of the Galapagos- the Blue-Footed Booby....

It was a very peaceful way to pass an afternoon.

In the evening we packed up ready for an early wake-up call and a return to port.

What a lovely, luxurious way to tour a very special part of the world!!!!

We plan to pull up the anchor on Tuesday to start on the longest section of our trip-to the Marquesas in French Polynesia.  This is a journey of more than 3000 nm and will take us about a month.  There will also be a fair amount of motoring at the beginning as we are passing through the doldrums.  I will be sending reports by Sat Phone and they will mostly be text messages as I doubt we will be seeing much to photograph!  Blue Water Rallies also run a daily position report of all the vessels.  I believe you can google the website to keep track.

Our best wishes and hopes are with Jon, Tanya, Katherine and little William.  Also, our prayers are with Mom, who had a pacemaker installed this week and, according to Bill, is doing very well.  It has been an annus horribilis for her.