Monday AM: Beach Visit

We awoke anchored near Baltra, where the airport is. We were close to Daphne Major (shown here), the island where Princeton University's Peter and Rosemary Grant have been doing their research on Galapagos finches since the '70s. At one time they had banded every finch on the island, about a thousand.

They spend three to six months a year on this island, where they have to bring all their food and water for themselves and their field workers. You can see the daunting cliff at the water's edge. There is only one niche in the wall where they can get onto the island, but they still have to wait for a wave to come along and lift the boat high enough for them to step out. Then they can only offload one person at a time, one box at a time. Everybody hates loading day!

This was our last morning on the Galapagos Legend. Following lunch we would disembark and head for the airport for our long trip back to Dallas.

Even though all our luggage was to be packed and left outside our cabin early that morning, there was going to be one more excursion offered by the crew. Nearby was a beautiful white sand coral beach on the island of Santa Cruz, which would offer snorkeling and a little beachcombing. Many of us were pretty tired from the last several days' events and didn't want to risk getting our clothes wet and full of sand with our luggage already packed. ICR offered an optional final meeting with all three scientists as a wrap-up to our trip. Since we felt this was the one deficiency of our trip, lack of lecture time, Sue and I decided to stay on board for the meeting (which is covered in the last chapter, "Galapagos Wrap Up"), but a few of the ICR folks visited the beach.

Before leaving the Legend, we had to get a picture of this wonderful mural in the stairwell featuring our new friends the blue-footed boobies.

Once the dinghies delivered us to the dock, we had one last chance to observe and photograph pelicans, boobies, frigate birds, and noddy terns at the shore before being bussed to the airport and buying a few last-minute souvenirs.

At the airport, we enjoyed the artwork of Galapagos creatures. It was a delightful way to say goodbye to an incredible place.

Our long trip back to Dallas required three separate plane flights and 24 hours to complete, but we had a lot of wonderful memories and sights to hold in our hearts on the way back home.

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