Penguins and Orcas!

Added 28 Nov 2014

Today's mission is to find a Galapagos penguin. We are moored at Santiago Island near Sombrero Chino or "Chinese Hat". Galapagos penguins are sometimes found along the rocky coastline here. We embark our pangas for a zodiac ride but before all four pangas are loaded, a radio call announces "Orcas". Lynn is supervising the last panga and can't quite believe the message. Surely they mean penguins, not orcas? No, the first pangas have spotted killer whales in the bay. Needless to say the last panga embarks very quickly, no one wishes to miss this! The orcas are nearby and all four pangas are able to follow them for some time. We are close but we are not upsetting the whales or changing their behaviour. Indeed, they seem inquisitive and interested and two of them even seem to bow ride one of the pangas. Our final count is one male, three females and two young. To see Orcas up close from a zodiac is very special indeed and we are all very excited. It is clear our naturalists are also very excited too! This doesn't happen very often. We decide to return to our original plan and we cruise the shoreline in the hope of seeing some penguins. Perhaps this doesn't sound very appealing after orcas, but it is not long before we are spotting an array of wildlife including marine iguanas, noddy terns, blue footed boobies and ... penguins. We see penguins up close standing on the lava adjacent to the water and some guests are lucky enough to follow a group swimming from one side of the bay to the other. All in all, a very successful zodiac ride.

After our panga cruise there is a choice of snorkelling, an escorted walk, or some free time on a beautiful sandy beach. On leaving Sombrero Chino we sail close to Bainbridge Islet. From the Sky Deck we can see over the rim of the caldera into a brackish lake. There are occasionally flamingos in the water but not today. Our next stop is Pinnacle Rock, and an area of Santiago Island known as Sullivan Bay. Late afternoon we enjoy an amazing walk across a lava flow approximately 100 years old.

This evening’s recap features a preview of our video chronicle. Brian has done a wonderful job and we look forward to seeing the finished film.