Ecuador's Galapagos Islands - 2003

SANTIAGO ISLAND This afternoon is our last “landing” in the Islas Encantadas and we are all too mindful of that melancholy fact. This has been such an extraordinary experience and the creatures here are so enchanting that we are loath to say goodbye. This island is the one adopted by Lindblad and we were now to see what monetary investment and dedicated people can accomplish. This island has been rid of all feral creatures and is recovering very well from the earlier depredations. It is also interesting because here we “wet” landed on a black sand beach. The range of sand colors in the islands is wonderful—white (like sugar or flour), gold, olivine green, beige, and now black!

Here the trail took us over flat lava “pavement” stones that were quite easy to walk on. Between the large “pavers” were fine black sand (like pepper grains), crushed shells (we haven’t seen much of this type of sand in the islands), and sometimes projections of jagged, sharp lava shards. As we walked along, the light became lovelier and lovelier with its golden hues and tender clarity. Along the way, the warm sun picked out the animals and birds we had grown so familiar with and so fond of—sea lions, fur seals, marine iguanas in their friendly

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