November 29, 2011

Galapagos Landscapes

 There are 15 large islands in the Galapagos, but on any cruise through the area you will also see many of the 100+ rocks and islets which are smaller than a single square kilometer but make for very striking landscapes. This is a fine example of a rocky islet that most people pass by and has been largely untouched by man.
 Even the larger islands have a feeling of desolate weirdness which takes awhile to get used to. We landed on the island of Santa Cruz at a place called Dragons Hill which has lush vegetation around the base and then very parched and dried out trees reaching up part of the hill. Ecuador is trying very hard to prevent any further plant and animal introduction on the islands so the plant and animal life there is largely unlike anything we'd seen anywhere else.
Kicker Rock is particularly striking from this angle. For scale, the small white dot at the lower left tip of the island is a boat for about 20 people, so the cliffs are sheer and the spires are looming. This particular formation is very different from the back, with the spanish name being 'Leon Dormido' or 'sleeping lion' as the back looks like a giant cat with its head on its paws.

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