There are many unique characters in the Galapagos Islands but here are some of our favourites…
The clumsiness and unassuming charm of the blue-footed booby is bound to win you over! The light-hearted and comical whistling and honking of their courtship ritual is wonderful to watch. The name 'booby' comes from the Spanish term 'bobo', which means 'stupid fellow' or 'clown'. (Espanola, San Cristobal)
Most ornithologists consider the waved albatross to be endemic to the Galapagos, with only a few pairs nesting near the Ecuadorian mainland. The elegant and beautiful courting ritual of the waved albatross is transfixing to watch as they clash their beaks together in graceful rhythm. (Espanola)
Galapagos Sea Lions and Fur Seals
Differentiated from seals by their external ears and method of moving on land, Galapagos sea lions are irresistible. The soft, dewy-eyed look of the newly born pups will have you reaching for your camera. Whilst in the water, these underwater acrobats will swoop playfully around you, twisting and somersaulting effortlessly. (Plaza Sur, Espanola, Santa Fe, Rabida & Santiago)
Slouched arrogantly on the rocks, their spiky black scales give them a punk-like quality. Supercilious and disdainful they stare with contempt at the approach of camera-touting groups. They are the only example of their species found in the world and can be submerged for up to an hour in the sea feeding on plankton along the rocks. (Espanola, Fernandina & Santa Cruz)
One of the island’s most celebrated residents, the giant tortoise is the world’s longest living land animal with an average lifespan of 177 years. The tortoises are popular with all visitors to the Galapagos and a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island will give any visitor a great understanding of these unique and fascinating animals.
Magnificent Frigate Bird
Similar to the great frigate species, the magnificent frigate has a vibrant red pouch used for attracting female counterparts. These birds are highly manoeuvrable and famous for waylaying other birds as they return to their nests after a days' fishing.
Furthermore, the marine life of the Galapagos is truly incredible. From awesome whale sharks, hammerhead sharks to the endemic Galapagos penguin (the only penguin to live on the equator), the diversity is astounding. Dolphins will jump and surf at the bow of your boat and at certain times of the year you may be lucky to have some amazing whale sightings.
“The water all around us seemed to come to the boil as thousands of bubbles rose to the surface. I stared in disbelief struggling to come to terms with the fact that directly below our zodiac was a whale coming to the surface. It was thrilling, magical yet at the same time - as frightening as hell.” Justin Wateridge