We woke up very early (5:30am ekk) to visit Black Turtle Cove. It was really beautiful to zip along on our zodiacs towards these famous mangroves while the sun rose over the ocean. Highlights of the visit were sharks and rays. But by far the most memorable was when we came across several male sea turtles attempting to mate with a lone female. She was not interested at all, and we witnessed about five males continuously attempt to rape her underwater. It was interesting how one male would jump up on her and start his “business” and another male would then nip the female or male while in coital ecstasy (read: rape) to try and pry him off her for himself. I couldn’t help but awkwardly laugh as the tourists in my boat started madly taking pictures of this “act” with their huge SLR cameras. Nature is a silly beast.
We returned back to our boat and then cruised to Baltra where we docked to say farewell to some our friends and welcomed new ones for the rest of our journey (these were passengers who had only booked a 7 day tour not a 10 day).
In the afternoon we visited North Seymour Island. Seymour Island is probably the most exciting island photographically. Bird life abounds, and close to the trail you will find many nesting pairs and young chicks. Seymour is also home to the Galapagos’s largest colony of magnificent frigate birds. Their mating ritual is an ostentatious display: males expand the red sack at the base of their throat and perch atop a bush with wings fully extended, flapping furiously. Interested females circle overhead, and if so inclined, may join the male on terra firma.