Marine Iguanas

So, the latest with the computer is that it is still seriously screwed up. This is especially sad for Mike. We did loose some Galapagos pictures (about 1000, in fact), but the pics of the boobies (from our last day) were still on the camera. You’ll get to see them eventually, but the files are too big to transfer directly from the camera to the blog; therefore, you’ll have to wait until we get a decent photo editing program running again. It could be a while.

In the meantime, we’ve crossed yet another border and are finally in Peru! Today is our first day here, and as Mike says, “some things are the same and some things are different.” I’m sure we have yet to discover the extent of the truth behind that statement.

We had some good fortune on our way to Peru, as we were taken in by a wonderful family for a comfortable night’s stay in El Cambio. We had biked a longish day into the town of El Guabo where we were going to spend the night. As I went to ask someone where the nearest hotel was, Dario found Mike and struck up a conversation. He and his family had recently (within the year) returned to Ecuador after living in Harrison, New Jersey for 9 years. Before I knew what was happening, we were being invited back to his house for the evening. We met his wife, Perla, then got directions to their town, El Cambio, 10 kilometers away.

Dario and Perla have a very nice home and three wonderful children. The whole family speaks excellent English (not surprisingly, since they lived in the States so long. Daniel is the oldest at 15, and he graciously sacrificed his bed so that Mike and I would have a place to sleep for the night. Samantha is 12; she introduced me to a delicious candy called a “Bon o Bon.” She seems to miss the States a bit, so it was very interesting talking to her about cultural differences. The youngest child, Angie, was born in the States since she is only 6 years old. She took an instant liking to me, and we became “best friends” almost immediately. She drew a picture of Mike and me along with our bikes, which I may try to post a photo of later.

We ate a delicious dinner with the family, then headed to the nearby city of Machala for a bit of quick sight-seeing. It was very nice. Dario and Perla were so hospitable. They told us that we were welcome to stay for a few more days, but we were anxious to get to Peru.

So here we are. We spent a month and a half in Ecuador, but according to Mike’s notes we only biked 18 of those days. That amounts to a lot of lounging around and only a few hundred miles. Everything was wonderful and exciting and interesting. If you ever get the chance to visit Ecuador, or even just the Galapagos in particular, I hope you take it. Amazing.

Now, here are some of those marine iguanas I promised you ages ago:

Marine iguanas are ugly beasts, but they were a huge highlight for me. Most of them are about 3 feet long, with their tails comprising half that length. I never thought I would see a 3 foot iguana swimming underwater, but that’s what they do in the Galapagos. They will dive right in while you are snorkeling near the coast. They eat the algae off the rocks, and sometimes the best stuff is below the tide. As a result, you can see them gripping the rocks under the water and gnawing away like there’s no tomorrow. It’s so funny to watch!

Most of the marine iguanas are black so that they blend in with the lava rocks they live on (and they sure do blend! If you’re not paying attention and they’re not moving, it would be easy to step on one). This big guy is kind of colorful though.

Here’s a better example of how they blend into the scenery. They also tend to pile on top of each other. The one of the left is maybe getting a little too friendly with that butt-pat.

Here’s a close-up of one iguana’s hand. They have very strong claws so that they can grip those slippery rocks under the water even when the waves are crashing right overhead.

He looks so ancient! Like a grumpy old dinosaur.

This bugger just looks pooped!

Don’t these two look adorable? They’re just hugging and looking out over the ocean. Awww…

I like the perspective in this photo.

Mike is submitting this as his “Loch Ness Monster” photo.

“Mmmm! Algae!”

“Outta my way!”

The Mt. Rushmore of marine iguanas!

Marine iguanas are really easy to follow because they leave very distinctive tracks. Their tails drag heavily across the sand and their claws leave little prints alongside.

Here are a few oddball lizards to finish off the post:

This is a lava lizard. They are much smaller than marine iguanas, as most are only about 4-6 inches long. They have nicely colored under-bellies though.

This is the land iguana, a close relative of the marine iguana. We only saw a few, and they’re not as funny or exciting (since they don’t go diving), but they’re constantly grinning.

Okay, this might be it for animals for a while. I’ll eventually show you some boobies and what-not, but I don’t know when that will be. I’ll be posting about our Peru adventures though.

Oh! I almost forgot about the poll. Mike took 1966 pictures during our 4-day Galapagos cruise. We ended up with far more pictures than that though since we stayed on the islands for a week and a half. Even after we lost 1000 pictures we still made out pretty well, I think.

2 Responses to “Marine Iguanas”
  1. Deb says:

    Welcome to PERU!!!!!!Sorry to hear about your computer woes.

  2. Kristen says:

    i love the iguana pictures! the one of the loveiguanas overlooking the ocean is fabulous! yeah, sorry to hear about your computer – that’s a real bummer. But, I’m sure you guys will be back on track soon :0) I’m excited to hear about Peru – especially since it’s be the goal destination! Love ya! Kris

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