Galapagos

Darwin finches and fearless blue boobies.
Frigate bird. Frigate bird.
More sally lightfoot crabs. More sally lightfoot crabs. More frigatebirds, which spend most of their lives airborne. More frigatebirds, which spend most of their lives airborne.
Sunset off the rear deck of the Encantada. Sunset off the rear deck of the Encantada. Briefing for day 3. Briefing for day 3.
Marine iguanas. Marine iguanas. More marine iguanas. More marine iguanas.
Still more marine iguanas. Still more marine iguanas. Closeup profile of . . . marine iguana. Closeup profile of . . . marine iguana.
Blue footed booby (mating display). Blue footed booby (mating display). Blue footed booby (napping) Blue footed booby (napping). These pictures are only taken with a basic handheld digital camera; the birds and sea lions really have no fear of (or interest in) humans.
Sea lion juvenile. Sea lion juvenile. Sea lion juvenile. Sea lion juvenile.
Very young sea lion. Very young sea lion.
Sea lions rolling in the surf. Sea lions rolling in the surf. Maybe it serves some purpose (fur-cleaning?), but my guess is that it is just for fun.
Sea lion (nursing). Sea lion (nursing). Sea lion (tired of nursing). Sea lion (tired of nursing).
Family beach gathering. Family beach gathering. The name otariid comes from the Greek otarion meaning The name otariid comes from the Greek otarion meaning "little ear", referring to the small but visible external ear flaps (pinnae) which can be used to distinguish them from the phocids. (Wikipedia)
Tagged for research, I presume. Tagged for research, I presume. Male albatrosses, fencing to impress the ladies. Male albatrosses, fencing to impress the ladies.
And we have a winner . . . and we have a winner.
Albatross in flight. Albatross in flight.
Swallow tailed gulls. Swallow tailed gulls.
Swallow tailed gull. Swallow tailed gull. Marine iguana. These guys go swimming in the ocean for food, and in some cases (like this one) regularly climb up hundred-foot cliffs just for a good spot to sunbathe. Marine iguana. These guys go swimming in the ocean for food, and in some cases (like this one) regularly climb up hundred-foot cliffs just for a good spot to sunbathe.
More swallow-tailed gulls. More swallow-tailed gulls. Carefully hidden marine iguanas. Carefully hidden marine iguanas.
So many marine iguanas. Sheesh. So many marine iguanas. Sheesh. No, not yet Mr. Albatross! Go to the edge of the cliff before you try to fly. No, not yet Mr. Albatross! Go to the edge of the cliff before you try to fly.
Ok, you are at the edge of the cliff.  That is a better albatross take-off place. Ok, you are at the edge of the cliff. That is a better albatross take-off place. I am getting ready to fly . . . I am getting ready to fly . . . I am getting ready to fly . . . I am getting ready to fly . . .
Success! Success! Masked boobies. Masked boobies.
The Albatross The Albatross "airport". Masked booby. Masked booby.
The whole Encantada gang. The whole Encantada gang. Tidal lava tubes emulating geysers. Tidal lava tubes emulating geysers.
Nesting booby. They poop in a circle and kick it out to mark a do-not-disturb zone. Nesting booby. They poop in a circle and kick it out to mark a do-not-disturb zone.
Nesting booby -- note the egg underneath. Nesting booby -- note the egg underneath. Booby couple talking to each other. Booby couple talking to each other.
Blue footed booby. Blue footed booby. Blue footed booby mamma and fledgling boobies. Blue footed booby mamma and fledgling boobies.
Masked booby. Masked booby. Masked booby (napping). Masked booby (napping).
Masked booby (flying by). Masked booby (flying by). Galápagos Hawk, famous for its indifference to humans, polyandrous mating, and status as the only endemic predator in the Galápagos. Galápagos Hawk, famous for its indifference to humans, polyandrous mating, and status as the only endemic predator (i.e., from the Galapagos and eats other land-based species, not fish). This is a point-and-shoot camera, I am about five feet away, and he is not even looking at me.
Galápagos Hawk surveying its domain. Galápagos Hawk surveying its domain. Seth with boobies.  The blue footed boobies are also pretty fearless. Seth with boobies. The blue footed boobies are also pretty fearless.
As are the lava lizards. As are the lava lizards. Lava lizard. Lava lizard.
Land iguana. Larger and less common/numerous than marine iguanas. Land iguana. Larger and less common/numerous than marine iguanas. The Galápagos Mockingbird may be the most fearless creature of them all. The Galápagos Mockingbird may be the most fearless creature of them all.
The Galápagos Mockingbird, studying his reflection in my camera lens. The Galápagos Mockingbird, studying his reflection in my camera lens. So, just to review: Galápagos mockingbird; marine iguana; sea lion. So, just to review and see how many animals can be fit in one photograph: Galápagos mockingbird; marine iguana; sea lion.
Marine iguana + encantada. Marine iguana + encantada. Fish attracted to warm water coming from cooling the Encantada engine. Fish attracted to warm water coming from cooling the Encantada engine.
Giles and Anna watching the fish. Giles and Anna watching the fish. A school of spotted eagle rays. A school of spotted eagle rays.
Group photo on deck. Group photo on deck (photo courtesy Giles Lamb).
Last day briefing.  Note the 5:40am rise time. Last day briefing. Note the 5:40am rise time; they make sure to fit in as much as they can for you. Route of the Encantada. Route of the Encantada.
Woody prickly pear cactus. Very tall. Woody prickly pear cactus. Very tall. Tortuga Bay Beach, near Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island. Tortuga Bay Beach, near Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island.
Sally lightfoot crab on Tortuga Bay beach. Sally lightfoot crab on Tortuga Bay beach. Sally lightfoot crab on Tortuga Bay beach. Sally lightfoot crab on Tortuga Bay beach.
Charles Darwin research center, Puerto Ayora. Charles Darwin research center, Puerto Ayora. Display of collected, marked Galapagos tortoise eggs. Display of collected, marked Galapagos tortoise eggs. Non-endemic, introduced species tend to want to eat the eggs, so there is a large effort to collect the eggs and raise the tortoises for the first few years in captivity (until they are too large to eat).
Galapagos tortoise (eating). Galapagos tortoise (eating). Galapagos tortoise (comatose). Galapagos tortoise (comatose).
Galapagos tortoise (napping). Galapagos tortoise (napping). Our boat, the Encantada. Because are required to have a guide, and many islands are hard to get to, a boat-based tour is pretty much the norm.
The Encantada, home for four days. The Encantada, home for four days. Briefing for the first full day of the tour on Floreana island. Briefing for the first full day of the tour on Floreana island.
Giles Lamb, secret agent. Giles Lamb, secret agent. Ms. Anna Rowley. Ms. Anna Rowley.
Florian. Florian. Seth.
Post Office bay. Historically where pirates, traders, navies, and other people with boats left notes for each other. Nowadays you can leave post cards, and look through for ones addressed to people close to you such that you can hand deliver them. Post Office bay. Historically where pirates, traders, navies, and other people with boats left notes for each other. Nowadays you can leave post cards, and look through for ones addressed to people close to you such that you can hand deliver them. Lava lizard. Lava lizard.
Giles Lamb, spooky man, in a cave on Floreana. Giles Lamb, spooky man, in a cave on Floreana.
Lagoon at Point Cormorant, Floreana Island. Lagoon at Point Cormorant, Floreana Island. Yo, Seth, we are trying to look cool here. Quit smiling. Yo, Seth, we are trying to look cool here. Quit smiling.
Flamingoes in Lagoon at Point Cormorant, Floreana Island. Flamingoes in Lagoon at Point Cormorant, Floreana Island.
Flamingo in lagoon at Point Cormorant, Floreana Island. Flamingo in lagoon at Point Cormorant, Floreana Island. Lagoon at Point Cormorant, Floreana Island. Lagoon at Point Cormorant, Floreana Island.
Getting back to the boat. Getting back to the boat. On deck on the Encantada. On deck on the Encantada.
The boat schedule is very much centered around the lunch/dinner bell. The boat schedule is very much centered around the lunch/dinner bell. Dining room. Dining room.
Briefing for day 2, Isla Espanola and Isla Lobos. Briefing for day 2, Isla Espanola and Isla Lobos.