Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Galápagos Day 6 (evening) - Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela

This afternoon saw us boarding the pangas for a ride around the mangroves of Elizabeth Bay in Isla Isabela. Jo's morning hardiness had succumbed to the dreaded bug (that was now affecting several on board) so she opted to stay on the boat but this did give her the chance to take a shot of us as we circled a small rock island in the bay.

Panga ride, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Photograph courtesy of Joanne Smissen

This and other nearby 'islands' (more like rocky outcrops) were covered in wildlife.

Flightless Cormorant, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 150mm, ISO 1600,  f/5.6, 1/1600
Galápagos Penguin, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 180mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/1600
Galápagos Penguin, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/2000
Galápagos Sea Lion, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 170mm, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/3200

Once we'd done several laps of these islands photographing from every angle (while trying to avoid each others heads and cameras) we headed into the mangroves, following narrow channels and ducking under branches accompanied by several comments that we were glad the guide and panga drivers knew their way around because it would be very easy to get lost in the maze of mangrove trees.

Red Mangrove + White Mangrove, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 1600, f/4.5, 1/1000

Red mangroves were the most common species at this location. They have beautiful, large, glossy leaves and long thin seed pods, which eventually drop off the branches and float away on the tide and currents to land and set roots somewhere else.

Red Mangrove, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 1600, f/4.5, 1/250

Mangrove roots make for some great black and white photographic opportunities and I managed to find one set of roots in just the right light.

Red Mangrove roots, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 1600, f/4.5, 1/40

The wildlife among the mangroves was amazing. Striated Herons and Great Blue Herons were found searching for food.

Striated Heron, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 107.5mm, ISO 320, f/5, 1/200
Striated Heron, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 160 mm, ISO 320, f/5, 1/400
Great Blue Heron, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 122.5mm, ISO 1000, f/2.8, 1/400

I never thought I'd find a penguin in a mangrove forest...but...

Galápagos Penguin, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 122.5mm, ISO 200, f/10, 1/250

We were told that we should also be able to see rays and we were lucky enough to find two species

Golden Cownose Ray, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 107.5mm, ISO 4000, f/5.6, 1/125
Spotted Eagle Ray, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 4000, f/2.8, 1/400

as well as several Green Turtles hiding among the mangrove roots. 

Green Turtle, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 107.5mm, ISO 3200, f/4.5, 1/60
Green Turtle, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 100mm, ISO 5000, f/2.8, 1/200

It was getting late and we wanted to be back out in the bay to catch the sunset and managed to emerge from the mangroves just in time.

Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 1000, f/5.6, 1/3200

Our panga driver noticed a pelican sitting in a tree and manoeuvred the panga to enable this shot.

Brown Pelican, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 1000, f/5.6, 1/800

and a frigate bird landed directly above the pelican while we were there (in fact, I had to clean up the top of the pelican's head from this shot later in Photoshop).

Magnificent Frigatebird, Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 1000, f/5.6, 1/400

Our little island still had plenty of birds on it as we headed back to the boat

Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 77.5mm, ISO 1000, f/5.6, 1/400

in time for one last shot of the western sky from the lounge deck of the boat while consuming well-earned pre-dinner beer and wine.

Elizabeth Bay, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 13 mm, ISO 1000, f/4.5, 1/25

Next day - more Isla Isabela where we search for Tortoises and Land Iguanas and Flamingos.

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