Sunday, 26 April 2015

Galápagos Day 10 (morning) - Sombrero Chino

We cruised north and west overnight, around Isla Santa Cruz and Seymour Islands to anchor off Sombrero Chino (as it resembles a Chinese hat, although our guide thought it was more like the Pizza Hut hat), one of a chain of small islands off the south-east coast of Isla Santiago.



Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 18mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/8000

The island sports a desolate landscape with the only vegetation being cactus and a few small shrubs.

Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 107.5mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/200

We spent the morning on this rocky shore, which was home to plenty of wildlife - nothing new but some good photographic opportunities for some local favourites. 

Isla Santiago viewed from Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 28mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/1600

American Oystercatchers and Lava Herons were stalking the rock shelf for crabs.

American Oystercatcher, Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/640  
Lava Heron, Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/1000

When the waves washed over the rock in the photograph above, the heron flew off temporarily and returned to land nearby, next to a number of small Sally Lightfoot Crabs. In the hope it would pursue one of them, I set myself up as close as I could get (standing in thigh deep water and hoping not to get covered by an incoming wave) and waited for the heron to come my way. It did...

Lava Heron, Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/800

...and I was rewarded with this shot - sometimes planning pays off (even if you have to get a bit wet)

Lava Heron, Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/1000

Of course, there were Marine Iguanas

Marine Iguana, Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/640

I couldn't resist taking this shot of a Galápagos Hawk. There was no way around it to get a better lit view but I do like the silhouette with just a splash of light on the top of the bill.

Galápagos Hawk, Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 800, f/8, 1/800

The stars of the morning, though, were the sea lion pups that had taken over a shallow rock pool as a play pen. 

Galápagos Sea Lion, Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/100 
Galápagos Sea Lion, Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 180mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/200

They really have a look of cheeky insolence and a bunch of humans standing around with cameras just added to the entertainment. Anything was fair game if you stood still, left equipment unattended or turned your back...

Galápagos Sea Lion, Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 77.5mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/60

Galápagos Sea Lion, Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Photograph courtesy of Joanne Smissen
Galápagos Sea Lion, Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/80 
Galápagos Sea Lion, Sombrero Chino, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/160

On our way to our next stop at the red beach of Isla Rábida, we went past Bainbridge rocks where there is a crater lake that often has flamingos. The skipper manoeuvred the boat close to the cliffs and from the top deck of the boat you could just see over the seaward lip of the crater allowing us to spot a flock of flamingos on the other side of the lake. They were a long way away and the combination of distance, heat haze and a rocking boat made it very difficult to get anything resembling a photograph. However, the stability control on Jo's Sony compact camera (and her steady hand) allowed her to get much better shots than I could get hand holding my 300mm and 2x extender.

American Flamingo, Bainbridge Rocks, Galápagos
Photo courtesy of Joanne Smissen


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