Reunion with the smallest penguin

10. November 2018

We boarded our boat early in the morning to reach a place called “Los Tuneles”. But first we stopped at a couple of rocks out in the ocean, where we hoped to see penguins. And we were lucky as one of those cute creatures had positioned himself on a rock. He almost seemed to enjoy all the attention he received. He belongs to the smallest kind of penguins in the world and is the only penguin who also lives in the northern hemisphere. And he is from the same kind as the African penguin of which we had seen so many during our time in South Africa at the beginning of our world trip.

Thanks to the excellent skills of our captain we made it passed the gigantic waves to Los Tuneles.  Its name origins from the fact that when the volcano erupted and the lava flowed into the sea the outer layers cooled off before the inner did. The tunnels that emerged from this process collapsed at some places creating natural pools surrounded by bridges and little islands. Those pools offer protection from the waves and big predators and are used as a resting place by many marine animals. On the islands we did not only find another adorable seal but also two blue-footed boobies. To observe this couple, caring for another, showing wings and feet and cleaning each others feathers was more than we hoped – an adorable love scene. And this time, we could take some great photos of them.

After our land excursion we entered the cold water of those pools with our snorkeling gear and managed to spot several groups of whitetip reef sharks, lots and lots of green sea turtles, seahorses and a tiger eel.

It had been a great tour even tough the people on the tour had been a bit strange, but the staff had made up for it. The rest of the day we explored the lagoons located a bit on the inside of the island. And we were lucky again, as there were several flamingos on their search for food. No matter how many of them you see, they are always fascinating to observe with their pink feathers.

At the end of this path is another conservation center for the Giant Galapagos Tortoises. When they opened the center there were only 8 tortoises left on the island and thanks to their effort meanwhile there are more than 200 babies. This kind of centers are extremely important. Because of invasive species, juvenile tortoises would have a zero survival chance on their own.

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