This darling sea lion has plenty of room to nap on this picturesque beach. Sea lions are actually very social creatures; it’s more common to see them in groups than alone like this. Somewhat like their namesakes on land, their colonies consist of a single male that guards the territory from other males, and a harem of a dozen or so females. “Bachelor” males also may form their own colonies together.
The letters on the bench read “Gobierno Provincial de Galápagos” (Galápagos Provincial Government in English). The Galápagos are one of 24 provinces of Ecuador; the capital is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristóbal.
The island of Baltra is the entry point for most visitors to the islands, since it has one of the islands’ two airports. We were greeted at our ship’s dock by this sleepy sea lion catching a nap rather comfortably. I wonder if any humans ever sit on these benches, or just sea lions?
As I have mentioned before, most of the animals in the Galápagos are very tame and regard human visitors with indifference or curiosity instead of fear. This mockingbird investigated our stuff while we played on the beach.
It is probably a Hood Mockingbird (Hood is the English name for Española Island), which are notorious for their interest in tourists.
These birds are endemic to the island, meaning they are only found here; but they are of course closely related to the several other species of mockingbirds on other islands. Its distinctive identifying feature is its long, curved beak.
From Tagus Cove, Isabela.
The Galápagos are mostly untouched and pristine, which is ironically one of their attractions as a tourist destination.
Yet humans are inextricably linked with environment here.
We saw mementos left by travelers at several sites, both paint and carvings, dating back even hundreds of years–these are of course illegal to do now, but they make an interesting historical marker of human presence in the Galápagos.
The sea lion seems unimpressed, though.