From Santa Cruz.
We briefly explored these giant lava tubes on Santa Cruz island; they formed long ago when surface lava cooled and hardened, but the hot lava in the center still flowed, leaving big cave-like tunnels. It’s a fascinating part of the islands’ geological history. It was dark down in the tube, so all my pictures are terrible, but I thought this one had a cool composition, looking up and out of the cave.
I want to share this butterfly photo from La Selva Ecolodge in Ecuador, because it was the one my husband picked for this challenge ❤
Weekly Photo Challenge: Blur
The biodiversity in the Galápagos isn’t limited to the animals; I tried to capture the fascinating flora as well. On the arid zone lava of Genovesa one can find many flowering plants, including this one that looks to me like a morning glory (Ipomoea spp.) There are several morning glories native to the Galápagos, and at least one that is endemic.
Weekly Photo Challenge
If I were making a photo album of my Galápagos photos (which I did), this is the one I’d use for the cover. Not only does it capture a nice quintessential Galápagos landscape (La Cumbre volcano), but it shows my group doing what the whole trip was about: exploring.
In the foreground is our professor and fearless leader, Dr. Jed Burtt; he was one of my favorite professors in undergrad and inspired me to continue with scientific research as my career. The trip would not have been nearly as amazing without him.
The lava cactus (Brachycereus nesioticus) is one of the first plants to colonize the bare lava, enduring the harsh environment of the islands’ arid zone. One of several cacti endemic to the Galápagos, Brachycereus does not grow very large, appearing in clumps along lava fields. The new growth is yellow, and turns greyish as it ages.
A spray of salt water…
…and a pretty rainbow after
This cool blowhole (“El Soplador”) is created when waves crash into the lava fissures of the cliffs of Española, one of the oldest of the Galápagos islands. To get here, it’s a little hike from the Punta Suarez landing site, along which you can also see colonies of blue footed boobies and waved albatrosses, among other things. These islands have so many fascinating sights, even in addition to the unique animals!