Sue Oltman: In Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands, June 6, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Sue Oltman
Aboard R/V Melville
May 22 – June 6, 2012

Location: Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands
Date: June 6, 2012

Weather Data from the Enchanted Isles (Santa Cruz Island, Ecuador)
Air temperature: 82 F (feels hotter!)
Relative humidity: 73%
Precipitation: 0.0 mm

Personal log

The NOAA research cruise is over and we are now on land, but the elements of science are simply different.

Farewell, Melville!
The view from the back deck of the Red Mangrove, where the Melville remained for a day before sailing out on its next scientific journey. I’ll miss you, Melville and crew!

The Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador, on the equator and at about 90 degrees longitude west. The time is the same as Mountain Time zone in the United States. There are 12 hours between sunrise and sunset here – while my hometown is approaching the longest period of daylight of the year.

At the water taxi
We are at the water taxi area waiting for a bus to take us to our hotel.

As we sailed into the islands, we could not be all the way into the harbor as the coastline is not only too shallow for the Melville, but rocky and ecologically fragile. Ecuador carefully inspects all boats – inside and out – that enter its waters. There are so many endemic species (found only here) and some are endangered, that they are vigilant to protect against the introduction of any foreign organisms, no matter how small. The Galapagos Islands are in a fracture zone and were formed by a hot spot – an opening in the slowly moving crust which allows molten rock to rise from the mantle.  The hot spot – which changed directions at some point – has formed over 100 islands (some of them very tiny!) which comprise what is called the Galapagos Islands.

While the abundant animal life is really diverse and captivating (I’ll get to that next), the geology is beautiful as well.  There is dark volcanic rock everywhere you look!  It is even used in the walls of the buildings and sidewalks. It is mostly extrusive and mafic igneous rock, and one little island is a national preserve called Las Tintoreras, made completely out of  Aa!

Aa and mangroves at lagoon
With volcanoes in the background, the green mangroves, blue waters, black aa and white lichen makes for a very picturesque lagoon at Las Tintoreras..

Even though there is black rock everywhere, there are still beaches with the finest white sand.  Some places in the islands have red or green sand, depending on the minerals. Visiting a green sand beach is something I’d like to do, as I love rocks that have olivine.  By the way, no rocks or any other natural material can be taken out of the islands. What I was able to take away were wonderful pictures and happily, some beach glass (litter, really) to add to my collection.

pronounced pa-hoy-hoy
Among all of the aa, you can see some pahoehoe, where the mafic lava flowed and cooled differently.

The Aa is covered in a lot of white material, and since there are various birds all around, I thought it was bird droppings at first!

However, it is actually a lichen, which was able to establish itself on the nutrient-poor rock. With the process of succession, some small, low plants began to grow as have mangrove trees. Some areas look like there are lots of white pebbles, but it is actually small bits of coral or sea urchin spines – calcium carbonate. The two animals common in this particular area off of Isabella Island are white-tipped sharks (tiburones or tintoreras) and marine iguanas.  There are some lava tunnels and channels which are great places for these sharks to hang out.

white tipped shark
A white tipped shark (tiburone) is at the bottom of this clear channel (grieta.)
a grieta where the sharks can be found
The narrow channel where sharks can be seen off of Isla Isabella.

Marine iguanas are very different from terrestrial iguanas. As their name implies, they swim and they are also herbivores, eating only plants, algae in particular.  They were everywhere in all sizes, but sometimes quite hard to see until you were right on top of them, as they blended in with the black rock.

Iguana pile
There are so many of the black marine iguanas, and they blend right into the rock!

It was mating and nesting season and the males sometimes change colors, to a reddish hue, at this time.

During mating season, sometimes males change to a reddish or brown color.

If a marine iguana looks like it is wearing a white hat, this is due to their bodies excreting salt – they do live in salt water, after all! Other animals seen in this area are two species of sea lions, one a small variety that makes you think they are all babies!  Also, there is an endemic species of Galapagos penguins, much smaller than the Antarctic penguins we commonly think of.

Galapagos penguins
The only species of equatorial penguins, these little Galapagos penguins are warming up on the rocks, with their soon-to-be lunch swimming nearby.
Blue feet and a blue beak
Blue feet and a blue beak are the colorful characteristics of a blue footed booby, another of the endemic species on the Galapagos Islands.

Other birds included pelicans, frigate birds, and the Blue Footed Booby.  From the boat, you could see the animals, birds and crabs on the rocks and the larger animals (sea lions, sea turtles, sharks, manta rays) swim near the boat.  Since I was snorkeling, I was able to see all these cool creatures underwater swimming with me!  Not only that, but there were a wide variety of colorful tropical fish and some eels. Animals that didn’t move were sea cucumbers, sea urchins and some that I will have to research to identify.  Not too long ago, the sea cucumber was almost over-harvested to extinction here!  It had become an edible delicacy for a while.  However, one look at the reefs here will prove to you that this primitive and sometimes disgusting organism is back in force.

Scuba divers have a great opportunity to see hammerhead sharks which are in abundance in certain areas.  Although I was not able to dive this time, therefore did not see them this time, but one of the scientists in the group, Sean, captured some amazing footage from his dives at Gordon Rocks and North Seymour.

On land, there are also a number of endemic species, the most famous being the species of giant tortoises that can live much longer than humans.  The Charles Darwin Research Center is here on Santa Cruz and many tortoises are in natural habitats (albeit in fenced in areas). Surprisingly, they can be VERY active, sometimes a bit ornery towards each other, and even make noises!

Giant tortoises
These giant tortoises seem to have something important to communicate to each other!

The tortoises are herbivores and are fed a few times a week. The oldest and most well-known is a Pinta tortoise named Lonesome George.  He is about 200 years old and is the very last of his species, so when he dies, the Pinta tortoise will be extinct.  The research center tried several times to mate him to save the species, but it was never successful.

If you take a tour to the Highlands of Santa Cruz, up in the forests you can see many even larger giant tortoises than the ones at the Darwin Center, roaming freely about. Sometime in the future, I hope to do this. A neighboring and very “young”  island, Isla Isabella, a 2 ½ hour boat ride away, has a terrific turtle research center, too.  In my opinion, this was an even better place to learn about the developmental stages of the turtle from egg to the twilight years.

Birds are numerous and I mentioned several earlier, but Darwin was known for researching finches of which we saw many. My favorite was a little yellow finch and boy oh boy, are they hard to photograph!  It was possible to get very close to the birds, perhaps even a couple of feet away.

A yellow finch – one of the finches Darwin studies – is still long enough for me to capture a photo!

Another recurrent daily scene was the fish market at a bay in Santa Cruz. Fresh catches were brought in, sold, and the fish often cleaned right there at special tables for this purpose.  The pelicans were certainly omnipresent pests, but there also was always a sea lion there, begging for fish, and sticking his nose towards the table, just like a family dog would do!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There are many volcanoes here, some of which are still considered active, as is the case on Isabella.  Scientists study the volcanoes here as well as the animal life. All around you, there is talk about respect for and conservation of the animal life, as well as preservation of the geological formations.

Although we did not have a lot of time here, it seemed like an appropriate place to terminate a scientific research cruise, with all of the geologic and biologic connections here.  Many times throughout my stay, I couldn’t help thinking that this place would be the ultimate school field trip!  Perhaps that will be a scientific adventure in the future.

Rachel Dane, May 4, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Rachel Dane
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
April 29 – May 10, 2005

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Date: May 4, 2005

Plan of the Day
0400: 1.5N CTD
0830: 2N Recovery and deploy with CTD, AOML and ARGO
2215: 2.5N CTD

Weather Data
Latitude: 1 degree N
Longitude: 95 degrees W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles
Wind Direction: 153 degrees
Wind Speed: 10 knots
Sea wave height: 1-2 feet
Swell wave height: 2-3 feet
Sea water temperature: 27.9 degrees C
Barometric pressure: 1013.2
Cloud cover: 5/8 cumulus, altocumulus

Science and Technology Log 

Last night I ended up falling into bed, exhausted, around midnight.  Jim and I spent almost an hour having a super fun conversation about river running in Idaho and the Grand Canyon—I had no idea that he and I were both guides on the main fork of the Salmon River in Idaho!  It was a wonderful talk, and I hope to have the opportunity to chat more together.

It’s another buoy day; today we will be recovering a damaged buoy and deploying a new one in its place. Each TAO buoy is moored to the bottom of the ocean using Nilspin, which is steel cable surrounded by a protective plastic shield.  Old railroad wheels are used as anchors for each buoy in the array.  The Nilspin cable is also equipped with sensors at various depths; these sensors transmit data from the ocean to the surface of the buoy. Remember, these buoys constantly collect data on wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, barometric pressure, sea surface and subsurface temperature, salinity, water pressure and ocean currents.  The data is gathered and transmitted via NOAA satellites, and is used by scientists all over the world who are studying the relationship between the Pacific Ocean and climatic changes.

Buoy recovery is a fairly labor intensive process that involves lassoing the floating toroid, craning it aboard, spooling in all of its cable, and cleaning the entire apparatus.  Being submerged for 6 months at a time, the buoys acquire quite a collection of barnacles!  Before a buoy can be recovered the anchor needs to be dropped; a sensing apparatus on its underside is responsible for detecting the “drop anchor” signal transmitted by the ship.  In today’s case, the recovered buoy will be stored on deck until it is cleaned, painted, and outfitted with new instrumentation; it will then be standing by, ready to replace another buoy on the array if necessary. There was some excitement today during operations when the anchor release signal was not acknowledged by the buoy—the ship’s winch was very unhappy about having to haul up the additional 2.5 tons of anchor weight!

Deploying a buoy involves all of the same steps as recovery, but in the reverse order.  First, one end of the spooled cable is attached to the bottom of the buoy’s 2.5m diameter base. The buoy is then lowered into the water and the cable is unspoooled.  Finally, the anchor is dropped. The entire buoy lifting and lowering process is done with the large cranes and winches that the KA is equipped with.

Personal Log

All hands involved in the buoy ops functioned together like a well oiled machine.  There is no doubt that everyone on board is familiar with their duties and responsibilities, and all know what needs to be done and precisely when it needs to happen in order for the procedure to be successfully executed.  It is definitely impressive. Again today, all crew members were more than happy to include me in the excitement, and all were very patient with this rookie sea-goer!  Thank you, everyone!

The weather here at the equator is much less humid than I expected.  In fact, I find it quite pleasant; maybe because there is always a sea breeze blowing.  The inside of the ship sometimes feels like a refrigerator, especially the computer and science labs which are kept cool to maintain the machines.

Teams are made and times are set; let the tournaments begin!  For the remainder of the cruise we will be competing against each other in scrabble, cribbage, darts, poker, and a card game called Sequence.  My first challenge is tonight at 6:30—Fred and I play cribbage.  Personally, I can’t wait to see the dart competition as we rock and roll our way to Mexico!

Rachel Dane, May 3, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Rachel Dane
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
April 29 – May 10, 2005

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Date: May 3, 2005

Plan of the Day
0300: 0.5S CTD
1200: Equatorial mooring repair followed by a deep CTD and an ARGO
1845: 0.5N CTD
2345: 1N CTD

Weather Data
Latitude: 0 degrees N
Longitude: 94 degrees W
Visibility: 12 nautical miles
Wind Direction: 150 degrees
Wind Speed: 12 knots
Sea wave height: < 1 foot
Swell wave height: 2-3 feet
Sea water temperature: 26.5 degrees C
Barometric pressure: 1013.0
Cloud cover: 2/8 cumulus, cirrus

Science and Technology Log 

Today is my first full day on the KA’IMIMOANA (KA).  After sleepily answering my 3:30 AM wake-up call and quickly grabbing a hot cup of caffeine, I met Shawn and Jay on deck to begin the first CTD cast of this second leg of the KA’s journey along the equator. CTD is an acronym for “Conductivity, Temperature, Depth”; it is essentially an analysis of the salinity and chlorophyll levels of a site specific water sample. The casts are performed at each 1 degree change in latitude along the entire TAO array.  The CTD “package” consists of 15 cylinders, each about 1.25m high, attached to a sensing apparatus. Based on commands from the deck, this sensing apparatus will open and close the cylinders and provide real-time data of water conductivity, temperature, density and salinity. For the purposes of this morning’s sample, the package was lowered to a final depth of 1000m for sample collection.  Final depths vary with each cast.  Once the cask is deployed, data analysis of the water sample is displayed graphically on a nearby computer—this morning I was able to view a graphical representation of the thermocline for the first time!

Before lunch, I shadow Doc during her weekly safety inspection.  What a great opportunity for me to see the inner workings of this impressive vessel!  After lunch, the announcement that we have arrived at the site of our first buoy repair comes echoing over the loudspeakers, and it’s buoy time!

The equator! For me, it’s no longer simply a line around the globe.  Not only does the equator represent the dividing line between the northern and southern hemispheres of the earth, but this is also the region where Pacific ocean currents are being extensively studied by NOAA in order for us to better understand the relationship between the oceans and climate.  Essentially, the TAO buoy array acts as a 6000 mile antennae that scientists use to monitor ocean trends.

Donning hard hat and life jacket, I ran to the third deck clutching my zip locked camera and climbed into one of the orange work rafts attached to the KA’s port side.  We (Dave, Brian, Chris, Matt and I) were gently lowered into the water by attentive crew members, and off we motored to our waiting buoy, about 75m away.  Unfortunately, this buoy had been damaged by a fishing vessel so Dave and Brian had some repairs to make.  Fish prefer to swim in the vicinity of buoys because schools feed on the growth that accumulates on the underside, and it is quite common for large fishing vessels to tie up to TAO buoys; oftentimes damage occurs in the process.  After the repairs were complete, I was enthusiastically invited to jump onto the mooring buoy, and it was the absolute highlight of my day! Since fish like to hang out by the buoys sea birds do too; this was immediately obvious to me once I had hopped onto the platform and was clinging to the rungs of the tower.

The entire apparatus was covered from top to bottom with dried guano, and within minutes of climbing and perching on the tower, so was I!  Kind of gross; however, this did not prevent me from reveling in the experience of being on the equator and bobbing like a cork, completely and utterly surrounded by water.  It felt as though I had stepped into a completely foreign liquid universe.  Other than our work boat, the only object in the panoramic view was the KA’IMIMOANA headed towards the horizon. I believe that I could have very happily floated on that buoy for the rest of the day, reveling in the vastness.

Once back in the orange raft, our expert coxswain Chris kicked it into turbo gear and off we sped on a high speed chase, in hot pursuit of our ocean home.  Although the KA remained in sight for the entire operation today and although I longed for more time bobbing in the serene, blue stillness of the equatorial Pacific, there was a feeling of extreme comfort in riding to port side of the mighty Ocean Seeker.  Looking up, we saw 10 of our crew members peering anxiously over the rails on all decks, ready to work together to bring us home safely.

Personal Log

On a daily basis, I continue to be amazed by this ship.  So many aspects of life aboard the KA’IMIMOANA are extremely refreshing: that it is a floating home that operates so efficiently through the patience, teamwork and cooperation of all hands, that a hallway passing almost always evolves into a friendly conversation, and that crew members are consistently willing to share their knowledge and experience with me and excitedly teach new information.

Despite my best intentions and despite a 4.5 mile run on the treadmill, I was not able to squeeze in a rest this afternoon. Now it’s 10:30pm and I’m feeling exhausted, but too overwhelmed to sleep.  This evening I studied the Southern Cross and surrounding constellations with Don. Although I live at the Grand Canyon and regularly study extremely impressive night skies, the stars here rival what I’ve become accustomed to at home.  Thanks to Jimbo’s call I watched over 100 squid swarming on our starboard side, and kudos to Tony–his expert fishing skills have ensured that we will all enjoy fresh calamari tomorrow night!  Matt was the first person to introduce me to an actual example of bioluminescence tonight, visible in the ship’s wake; thank you, Matt, it was so incredibly cool! I definitely plan on taking him up on his offer for me to borrow the “Blue Planet” series to learn more about deep ocean luminescence.  So, brimming with curiosity and excitement, I look forward to the gentle rocking of the ship once I tumble into my bunk later this evening.

Rachel Dane, May 2, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Rachel Dane
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
April 29 – May 10, 2005

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Date: May 2, 2005

Science and Technology Log

Today is the big day—my first day at sea! I am excited and nervous at the same time; with no experience sailing my main hope is that sea legs will develop quickly for me!  As Academy Bay receded behind us I was a bit wistful at having to leave the Galapagos with so much left unexplored, but I am phenomenally happy to have had the experience to travel here and truly hope to return someday.

Much of my afternoon was spent picking the brain of Patrick Rafter, our Ph.D. student from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Patrick boarded the KA in San Diego at the start of this cruise, and is amazingly knowledgeable about marine chemistry.  He is also super patient with all of my questions, and very fun to chat with! You rock, Patrick! I basically asked him for a crash course in oceanic interactions, and this is what he taught me—too cool!

Essentially, the ocean can be viewed as the shallow, warm “mixed layer” at the surface and the deep, cold ocean. The dividing line between these two is called the thermocline, and it is the level at which a rapid change in water temperature occurs. Think about it as a multi-layered cake, with each water layer maintaining a fairly unique and consistent salinity, density and water temperature.  Generally, the mixed layer at the surface is the warmest.  In the equatorial pacific this surface layer has a depth of about 100m, and it is this first layer of oceanic cake that NOAA is most interested in studying.  Normally, the thermocline that divides the high warm layer from the lower cold layer maintains a gradually increasing easterly slope.  Under normal conditions, there is also less convection occurring and less wind is present.  However, under El Nino conditions the dividing line between the two layers becomes more level, creating a deeper, warmer top layer. This increase in depth of the top layer affects marine interactions in several ways.  First, a much larger percentage of surface water is warmer.  Second, more convection is occurring due to the warmer water temperature, and third, more wind is present.  One of the major uncertainties that TAO project data is attempting to explain is the cause of this thermocline change.

Personal Log

After a long Monday and a fabulous shrimp dinner, I feel quite tired and ready to call it a day. Tomorrow, Joe will set up my ship email account; I am really looking forward to being in touch with friends and loved ones at home, and also communicating with my students! It pleases me to report that, surprisingly, my stomach feels more settled at sea then it did when we were anchored in the Bay!  I’m not feeling 100% yet, but definitely well enough to give the treadmill a try tomorrow—and maybe I can even skip the Dramamine… Until tomorrow!

Rachel Dane, May 1, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Rachel Dane
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
April 29 – May 10, 2005

Mission: Oceanographic Survey
Geographical Area: Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Date: May 1, 2005

Personal Log

Following 16 hours of travel that brought me to Guayquil, Ecuador, a 2 hour flight has transported me to the northernmost tip of Baltra Island in the Galapagos.  The Galapagos Islands is the name given to this isolated group of volcanic mounds, which consists of 19 major islands and scores of inlets located 1000km west of mainland Ecuador.  From the air I could observe most of the land mass of the archipelago, which covers 7882 square km.  That these islands have so profoundly influenced scientific thought is astounding! The handful of animals that made their way out here have, through isolation, developed into completely unique species without fear of predation.

After a 10 minute ferry ride from Isla Baltra to the northern tip of Isla Santa Cruz, I am driven 42km south to Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the archipelago.  The population of this town is growing (too fast!) due to immigration from mainland Ecuador, and now numbers about 12,000 individuals.  During the drive I was observing the vegetation and wildlife, and noticed many plants with brightly colored flowers ranging from deep red to vibrant pinks and purples. Also present were a plethora of small, lemon yellow butterflies. Soon, Academy Bay was stretching far out to the east, and anchored peacefully in the turquoise water I spotted what was to be my home for the next 12 days: the NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana (Hawaiian for “Ocean Seeker”).

Once dropped off at the pier, I was ferried out to the KA’IMIMOANA (KA) via a local “panga”, or water taxi. I was welcomed by Doc, Joe and Sean (more to come about my crew mates!) and given a brief tour of the ship.  Eager to explore Isla Santa Cruz, Joe and I headed back to the island with our panga.  One of the most popular visitor sites in Puerto Ayora is the Charles Darwin Research Station, which is where I met the giant Galapagos tortoises face to face!  The station directs a captive breeding program for several of the 11 remaining subspecies of tortoise, and I was happy to learn that the captive bred animals are generally released to their home islands when they are about 4 years old.

Tired but elated after spending the afternoon at the research station, I enjoyed a meal of delicious fresh sea bass at a local restaurant.  My first day in the Galapagos closed after the short water taxi trip back to the vessel, and meeting several more of my helpful and welcoming ship mates.  I was lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the anchored ship, and the comforting view of stars from the window of my berth.

Dana Tomlinson: Day 22, March 22, 2002

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Dana Tomlinson

Aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana

March 1 – 27, 2002

Date: Friday, March 22, 2002

Lat: 1°S
Long: 91°W
Seas: 2-4 ft.
Visibility: unrestricted
Weather: partly cloudy
Sea Surface Temp: 82-86°F
Winds: light airs
Air Temp: 86-79°F

Today makes exactly three weeks on the Ka’imimoana. And this will be my last Daily Log from it. What a day it was. It was truly a perfect day. The weather was crystal clear and warm with very little breeze. The waters are so flat it’s hard to believe you’re on an ocean. Since we are closing in on the Galapagos, we are seeing more animal life: two hugs pods of porpoises and a few different kinds of birds. Seeing the birds is nice. We have seen very few on this trip. Dr. McPhaden feels this could also be an indicator of El Niño since the waters are warmer, the fish may be fewer and, therefore, the birds have less to eat.

Everyone is very excited about reaching the Galapagos first thing tomorrow morning. The scientists have prepped and are ready for the buoy recoveries/deployments back on the 95°W line north of Galapagos. The crew was busy getting their work done so they can have some well-deserved time off (Ian and Dane were welding at sunset down on the fantail – it looked beautiful with the setting sun behind them). All hands worked very diligently on the leg down here and the CO is very glad to be able to give them some quality time in a port most have never seen before.

As for me, this is a farewell to the KA. Dr. Kermond, Dr. McPhaden and I will be leaving the ship here to spend a couple of days on Santa Cruz. I will continue to write my logs, but won’t have access to a computer until I get back to San Diego. So, in about a week, please check the website again for the finale to my trip. I thank Cmdr. Tisch and his wonderful crew of dedicated, professional workers for making me feel just like one of them, and giving me the opportunity to bring the valuable work they do to the world, as well as experience what it is like to be a scientist for a while. This experience can only help to make me a better teacher with what I can bring to my students. Thanks to NOAA for a win-win situation. And now I’m off to pack as much into two days in the Galapagos as I can! Stay tuned……………

Question of the Day: 

Here’s a no-brainer: did I have fun and learn a lot on the KA? You’re darn right I did. It was truly the experience of a lifetime.

Answer(s) of the Day: 

From Wednesday: Amy has 6 hours between CTD’s if she’s doing them every degree. It’s about 60 miles to a degree. And the ship goes about 10mph. From Thursday: Once again, knowing that 1 degree is about 60 miles, when you count up the degrees, you get almost forty. That would be 2400 miles and Mrs. Mackay’s class in San Diego got it almost right on the money. Super job, you all!

Til I return from the Galapagos,
🙂 Dana

Jane Temoshok, October 9, 2001

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jane Temoshok
Onboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown
October 2 – 24, 2001

Mission: Eastern Pacific Investigation of Climate Processes
Geographical Area: Eastern Pacific
Date: October 9, 2001

Latitude: 1º S
Longitude: 92º W
Temperature: 84º F
Seas: Calm in port

Science Log

There is a flurry of activity getting ready for departure. The crew is very focused checking that everything (and I mean everything!) is strapped down tightly. Then the authorities come on board to check passports and do an inspection. If all is in order we will be on our way shortly.

Photos: Any job that requires moving things around on the deck is overseen by Bruce Cowden, the Chief Bosun. In the first photo you can see Bruce hoisting the gangway, and in the second he is leaning overboard to watch the lifting of the anchor.

Bruce Cowden, the Chief Bosun, hoists the gangway.

Bruce Cowden leaning overboard to watch the lifting of the anchor.

Travel Log

We are now underway! The gangplank has been raised, the anchor (all 270 meters of it) is lifted and the ship is moving out to sea. Most everyone is standing on the decks outside taking their last photos of these fabulous islands. Goodbye Galapagos! Goodbye to Lonesome George (a huge turtle that is the last of his kind) and all the other gentle giants. Goodbye to all the beautiful herons, frigates, and blue-footed boobies! And finally, goodbye to all the friendly inhabitants of these islands that are working to preserve them for the future.

Keep in touch,