On our final day of the cruise, we were up early for a visit to Mosquera Island. It is small, with a beautiful beach. The largest group of sea lions we encountered on the trip lazed on the sand or in the vegetation. The lighting was gorgeous--the benefit of the early embarkment. Sometimes photography was more difficult in the harsh, mid-day sun, particularly evaluating a shot in my LCD screen.
Some sea lions were still heading in after a night of hunting.
These are endemic Galapagos sea lions. Males can weigh up to 800 pounds, females up to about 110. They don't have a typical breeding season. Males protect a 'harem'. Females are free to choose a new harem, it is more about prime beach location. The males don't hold the harems for long--they feed very little guarding them, so they weaken and a challenger will take it over. Females give birth once a year, and rear pups for 1-3 years. They will often be suckling 2 pups of different ages. We witnessed this--a loudly complaining larger pup being shooed away as momma nursed the smaller one. (Nursing is a noisy, slurpy affair!)
Females can delay implantation if conditions aren't right. Orphans often survive by sneaking milk from other sleeping mothers. Older cubs are often together in 'nurseries', watched by one female while the others fish.
Sea lions can dive 650 feet and stay submerged 20 minutes or more. They usually don't venture more than 10 miles from shore.
My artist's inspiration.
A further stroll up the beach treated us with several sea lions bodysurfing.
Other interesting bits on Mosquera:
Then it was back on the Guantanamera to finish packing up, and disembark. Goodbyes. I won't go into that--I had grown fond of everyone!
Logistically, our only option was to ride back to the Baltra airport with the group. From there my husband and I and two others from the boat, who were staying on the islands longer, traveled together to Puerto Ayora. This is one of the times you will thank yourself for having less luggage. Transfer off the boat. Take a bus to the airport. Take a bus to the ferry. Take the ferry. Take a cab or ride the bus. Each time you are transferring your luggage. We caught a cab and were off! (You can take the bus. It's cheaper. But it also waits around until it fills up. And there are stops to endure, and we were hot and tired and splitting the cab four ways was $5 each. Not bad.) All the cabs on the island are pickup trucks or vans. We had a truck, and fortunately they had a cover to put over our luggage because, of course, it rained on our way over. The drive through the highlands is beautiful and green. The roads are being worked on, so some areas were smooth and others had potholes!
Next post: Puerto Ayora!
More photos of today on the album!