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The Galapagos Islands with Sarah Elbert

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Marine Iguanas
The marine iguanas on Española Island come in particularly vibrant shades of red and green, pictured here with a Sally light-foot crab. No need to act fast to snap a photo in the Galapagos, as most of the animals will sit all day posing.
Galapagos Dove
A Galapagos dove, found only here.
Blue-footed booby
One of the Galapagos’ famous blue-footed boobies, although they, like most of the sea birds here, are not endemic to the islands. In the background is the M/V Evolution, the cruise ship on which we traveled with International Expeditions.
A young waved albatross, whose parents have already left Española to head back out to sea. When this youngster gets hungry enough, he’ll have to dive off a steep cliff and hope he figures out how to fly before he hits the water. This is one of the oldest islands in the Galapagos.
Feeding time
A mother Nazca booby in the process of feeding her young.
Wild Giant Tortoise
A wild giant tortoise in the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island. As you can see, they’re huge (up to 500 pounds). In his book, The Voyage of the Beagle, Darwin talks about losing his balance as he tried to stand on a tortoise’s back (this opportunity was not available to us, as it’s against National Park rules to touch any of the animals). You have to approach from behind if you want to avoid having them retract their heads into their shells.
Puerto Ayora
Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island, boasts charming boutiques and even Internet cafés, in addition to the Charles Darwin Research Station, which has been working for decades to protect and build up the native wildlife and habitats in the Galapagos.
Fur seal
A fur seal nestled in a crevasse. Fur seals do their swimming, playing and eating at night and sleep during the day to stay cool.
Galapagos guide
Our indefatigable and always-knowledgeable guide, Bolivar “Boli” Sanchez, on top of Bartolome Island.
Oh so curious
Who are you looking at, booby?
Red-footed boobies
Red-footed boobies on Genovesa Island, north of the equator.
Nazca booby
A Nazca booby and its baby (look closely between its webbed feet).
Swallow-tailed gull
A swallow-tailed gull, blending in with the coral rocks on the enchanting Genovesa Island.
Humor on board
The M/V Evolution is blessed to have a wonderful staff of Ecuadorians who also have a sense of humor.
M/V Evolution off the coast
Our ship and a penguin off the coast of the Galapagos’ youngest island, Fernandina, which formed as recently as 30,000 years ago. The Galapagos are located over a volcanic hot spot, as is Hawaii.
Quite a treat to see penguins on the equator.
Fernandina's caldera
A stunning view of Fernandina’s caldera; the island’s volcano erupted most recently just last year.
Sally light-foot crab
The bright hues of a Sally light-foot crab contrast dramatically against the lava rocks.
Sleeping sea lion
A sleeping sea lion. These animals really know how to play and relax.
Galapagos Guide Cristina
Our other wonderful guide, Cristina Rivadeneira, showing us a specimen from the tide pools on Fernandina.
Flightless cormorant
A flightless cormorant (the only ones in the world are located in the Galapagos) surrounded by iguanas on Fernandina Island. As you can probably see, the cormorants’ wings are useless for flying.
Darwin Lake
Darwin Lake, a salt-water lake on Isabela Island (you can see the ring of salt around the edge), formed in a volcanic crater. Depending on the island and the time of year, the vegetation in the Galapagos can be very brown and dry.
Frigate bird
A frigate bird in heat, with a puffed-up neck pouch designed for attracting the fairer sex.
Quite impressed
I’m certainly impressed by the frigate!
Yellow land iguana
A vibrant yellow land iguana on Seymour Island.
Black Turtle Cove
Exploring Black Turtle Cove, on Santa Cruz Island, by rubber panga. The cove is a haven for turtles and baby sharks.
Taking it all in
Enjoying a beer on the deck of the Evolution on our last evening in the Galapagos.
Pacific Sunset
Sunset over the Pacific. Goodbye, paradise!
The Galapagos Islands are like no other place on Earth. Filled with colorful and unusual wildlife, this is the living laboratory that inspired Charles Darwin back in the 1800s. Sky Executive Editor Sarah Elbert was lucky enough to travel here in January and write about the Galapagos for the April issue of the magazine. She’s the first to admit she’s no professional photographer (and really, not even an amateur photography buff…something about not wanting to lug around all that heavy equipment), but luckily, this is one of those places in the world where “you can’t take a bad picture.” You might disagree, but here are some of the photos Sarah brought home with her.

Spill It: Tell Us What You Think!

Caroline Lyle
Wonderful article Sarah! Glad you had an amazing time, makes me want to go back right now!
4/1/2010 10:01:19 AM

Sandy Hooper
Wow! such incredible pictures - looks like a wonderful adventure.
4/1/2010 7:13:59 PM

The Englands
Great pictures, Sarah! Being there was like a dream.
4/6/2010 7:31:17 PM

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