June 23, 2001 - Saturday - Floreana Island (Charles)

Floreana Island (Charles) - Punta Cormoran - "an olivine green beach" rimmed by mangroves; flamingo lagoon; Galapagos ducks; white sand beach where sea turtles nest.

Another 8 hour trip tonight - a bit rougher than usual - to Floreana (Charles) Island. We had the sails up all night. The sun was up in the morning, but 1/2 hour later, it was overcast and threatening rain again. Generally, weather has been magnificent. Only mornings have had overcast or showers.

I think we're at Punta Cormoran on the north part of Floreana - and interesting choice of names, says Jonathan, since cormorants have never been sighted here. Go figure.

Click for enlarged photo First, we hiked into a lagoon area and saw flamingos in the distance - about nine of then. En route there, we saw some swimming penguins and pelicans. The lagoon where the flamingos were located was edged with gooey salt and ash mud, making it quite inaccessible.

Emerald Beach was a dark lava-crumbly sand beach with soft tiny ground bits shaped like emeralds.

Devil's Crown - submerged volcano with profuse coral growth; rays, sea turtles, sharks

After returning to the boat, we snorkeled around Devil's Crown, a sharp rock formation off the beach area. It had golden covered lava under water.

Click for enlarged photo We saw more manta rays, schools of yellowtail, small (tiny tiny) fish in schools of 1,000s. The water temperature went warm and then cool, due to underwater thermal outlets beneath.

Click for enlarged photo Later in the day, on we came to the Famous Bahia Barrell Post Office. Captain James Colnett (British) was sent in 1792 to explore the potential along the West Coast of South America as a source of oil from sperm whales; started the Barrel Post Office on Floreana, where sailors left mail for home to be picked up and delivered to their destination by any ship passing through.

There were no Southern CA cards for us to deliver. We heard Jonathan tell a few of the stories about the Floreana Mysteries -- Baroness, Dr. Ritter, and the Norwegian who ventured out to this island. He referenced the book: The Galapagos Affair by John Treherne for more details.

After lunch, a 14 hour trip from Floreana to Punta Morena on the big Isabela (Albemarle) Island. Crossing over to the Cromwell Current, which is a more west-to-east trade wind.

We slept all afternoon and hope we can still find some sleep tonight. It was rougher water, but mostly just a long tedious trip on the roller-coaster.