Very soon, I will be doing a lot more birding, as I head off to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. Here I hope to see the Galapagos Penguins (the only penguin to live on the Equator), the Waved Albatross (the only albatross to live in the tropics), and many other birds, including the Blue-footed Booby (an apparently clumsy seabird found most notably in the Galapagos)!
Well, I did it! I saw not only the three above-mentioned birds, but at least a dozen other species of birds while I was traveling in the Galapagos Islands. Success!!
If you have been reading my past six blogs, you have been looking at the wildlife that I encountered in the Galapagos. And, if you read the three blogs prior to that, you heard about the penguins and albatross that I observed in New Zealand and Australia, ending with what is written above in italics. Well, put that together, and I shall now describe the penguins and albatross that I witnessed in the Galapagos! Yippee!!
Needless to say, I was very excited the first time I saw a Galapagos Penguin. It was when I was snorkelling amongst the thousands of colorful fish in the clear blue warm waters. I was told that we might find some of these birds in the area, so I was definitely looking out for them. I swam down the side of some cliffs, keeping my eyes peeled for a penguin, while still watching the sealife below.
I traveled around a corner of the cliffs, and there one was lone penguin, standing on a small rock, much like a very tiny island in the water! My heart pounded at the sight of him. He just stood there, lounging on the rock in the sun, as I swam towards him. I got as close as I could, still keeping many feet away, as not only did I not want to scare him away, but I also wanted to respect his boundaries. I had a waterproof underwater camera with me, and took a few pictures, with a smile on my face, as he kept standing there posing for me.
After my time with this lone penguin, I continued to swim towards another area near the cliffs, where several more Galapagos Penguins were lounging on the rocks in the sun. Again, I swam up close, but gave them their distance, and took more pictures.
And then I just stayed there. I didn’t want to swim away. I just wanted to watch these creatures. No one else was around for these moments, and I felt so lucky, appreciative and in awe to be so close to these beautiful birds!
I was hoping that at least one of these pengiuns would dive into the water and swim near me, so I could watch this behavior underwater. But alas, they were quite content soaking up the warmth of the sun.
I finally swam away, quite content myself, of my time with these Galapagos Penguins.
I saw only a couple more penguins here and there from a distance during the rest of my entire Galapagos trip. So it was really those moments, with the lone penguin on his island, and my time with the few that were lounging on the rocks in the sun, that made memories for me which will last forever.
Please read my next blog for my time amongst the Waved Albatross of the Galapagos Islands.
Photos by Debby