Lindblad Expeditions - From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galapagos - Jean-Roch de Susanne, naturalist

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From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galapagos

Feb 10, 2013 - National Geographic Endeavour

Land iguana receive rain drops
Sea lion female rest on shore

North Seymour and Rabida Island

The time has come for the ocean to bring a gift onto the archipelago again. The warm waters from the north have extended a wet layer of loaded clouds over the horizon. Now, a light but steady rain drips along the rocks, soaks into the ground and brings plants to life again. Very soon the landscape of ashes, burnt by a year of sun, will dress in a fresh green forest.

This refreshing climate is actually more enjoyable than the heat of the sun that normally accelerates our steps in search of a shade. We are all relaxed and available to discover the island. Our morning visit to North Seymour was a highlight of the trip.

We are greeted by a very active colony of sea lions. Each female is in the tender company of her recently born calf. One weeps like a sheep, begging for breast feeding. This other clumsily walks over the boulders with its floppy flippers. Another lays asleep by its mother’s side and dreams of an aquatic world. Sea lions are always appealing and a lovely cause everyone’s joy. Today is not an exception.

On the second part of the trail, our steps turn heavier due to the mud that sticks to the soles of our shoes. Our attention is attracted by some red pouches, speckled into the low incense trees. A lot is going on among the frigates birds colony, the males are competing for the female attention. Some couples are established and a few chicks already stand under their parent’s plumage.

All of our excitement is observed by a land iguana of a surprising stoicism and pretended seriousness. There are so many surprises and astonishment for a single visit!

In the afternoon we found our next destination, a barely distinguishable land in the distance. The outline was fading into the slow wonder of the lowest clouds and the soft curtain of rain was blurring the landscape in pale hues of grey and red.

Our first activity at Rabida Island was snorkeling. We enjoyed a good surprise by submerging into warm and clear water for an amazing experience. We found ourselves mingled into a massive crowd of countless anchovies performing a glittering dance of a perfect synchrony. Moving as a single body, the school was flirting between life and death, between the surface offering abundance of plankton and danger from the sky, and the safest but depleting water below. Suddenly, a column of bubbles was tracing the plunge of a blue footed boobie. Close to our head, the surface was pitched by a quick move of a brown noddy sharp bill. Down below, the Pacific barracuda were posted still, ready to spear an attack.

What we will remember above all from is the peaceful and tame behavior animals shows in our presence. We are probably more ignored than accepted, but this feeling – of being part of the place – is reconciliation between man and nature. No doubt, this day will be a hit in our memory!

About the Author

Jean-Roch De Susanne·Naturalist

Jean-Roch was born and raised in Provence, Southern France. He moved to Paris to attend the National Superior Art School, where he graduated as a Graphic designer. After a time working at a communication agency, he chose to take a sabbatical year and discover the continent that he had always felt drawn to: South America. This is how his work and Parisian life turned into a backpacker and traveler’s fate.