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Flying to the islands, and Bachas beach

Galapagos began to show off immediately.  As we were coming in for a landing, we spotted two yellow-orange land iguanas off the runway. 

land iguana
land iguana (Staci Edwards)

Darwin finches and lava lizards dodged in and out between groups of travelers. 

Darwin finch
Darwin finch (Staci Edwards)

lava lizard
lava lizard (Staci Edwards)

We could smell the warm, moist air of the ocean.  We were greeted by our guide, waited for our group then transferred to a bus, then to the boat.

*Travel tip!  We got up at our Quito hotel at 3:30 am for a 4 am pickup.  (Which was 1:30 am, our time.)  In Baltra, we were told we had to wait in the harbor for people coming in on the later flight before we could begin our journey.  I would have REALLY LIKED to have gotten more sleep.  ASK if there is a later flight. (Update on this: Adventure Life assured me this was not normal.  They schedule everyone all at once so this doesn't occur.  Apparently, on my boat someone had made their own travel arrangements, and it didn't line up to ours.)

*Travel tip!  Flights into Galapagos have more restrictive rules--your luggage must weigh less than 44 pounds.  Also know that they spray into the luggage compartment over your heads before flight to kill non-native bugs.  No biggie, just nice to know.

From the boat, more Galapagos showing off:  Frigate birds looming overhead, and boobies diving into the bay. 
Frigate (Staci Edwards)

Diving booby!
Diving booby! (Staci Edwards)

diving booby, acrylics and colored pencil
diving booby, acrylics and colored pencil (Staci Edwards)

I love the streamlined shape they take when they dive.
After everyone was FINALLY on board, we set off for Bachas beach.  It's lovely.  A great first taste of what the islands offer..
Sally Lightfoot crab
Sally Lightfoot crab (Staci Edwards)

slightly wetter Sally Lightfoot crab
slightly wetter Sally Lightfoot crab (Staci Edwards)

Bachas beach
Bachas beach (Staci Edwards)

Turtle bones
Turtle bones (Staci Edwards)
Bachas beach
Bachas beach (Staci Edwards)

Sea turtle tracks!  She came in and laid her eggs!
Flamingo (Staci Edwards)

We did a bit of snorkeling here.  Our guide, Johan, told us this wasn't a great spot for that but we needed to check our snorkel equipment out in prep for the next day.  We did see a few fish, but the visibility was poor.
Parrot fish
Parrot fish (Staci Edwards)

My art motivation today was the Sally Lightfoot crab.  They really are that bright, and that beautiful.  It was fun to watch them scurry about, and anchor themselves to the rocks as the waves rolled over.  Their species name is Grapsus grapsus which makes me laugh.  They feed on algae, plants and dead animal matter...but they are also cannibals.  (We, unfortunately, witnessed this event.)  They have also been known to pick ticks off the marine iguanas.  They are amazingly quick.  A common and delightful sight all over the archipalego.
acrylics, Sally Lightfoot crab
acrylics, Sally Lightfoot crab (Staci Edwards)

We went to sleep (sort of, I'll talk about that later) with great anticipation of what the next day would bring!

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