Today, we visited the next island of the Galapagos archipelago: Floreana. This island is known for snorkeling at Devil’s Crown and (especially) for Post Office Bay.
In the latter, we made our first stop. First, we explored the area by water and watched the many sea lions (and a few blue-footed boobies) in the bay. On land, we then saw the remains of an old herring factory, and another lava tunnel (this time partly filled with water) – and of course the actual "Post Office". This simply consists of a barrel in which one can leave some postcards (without any stamps). In the 18th century, whalers could leave their mail there, which was then delivered by the next ship going to the respective destination. Today, this tradition is kept alive by tourists who are expected to deliver all postcards in their vicinity personally.
Originally, I just wanted to take the one card with a Viennese address with me. However, our guide then said that everyone should take more than just one card to reduce the piles of postcards waiting to be delivered – and only two of my fellow travelers even found a card to be delivered in their area. Therefore, I have also taken with me the two postcards for Lower Austria. So, in the near future, I have to visit the area of Wiener Neustadt.
Afterwards, we went snorkeling in the bay. We were able to observe some sea turtles having lunch. While I was looking at a small school of fish, a small Galapagos penguin suddenly appeared in my field of vision. He swam through the school of fish three times (and probably ate some of it) before disappearing again. Shortly after that, a curious sea lion stared at me briefly. All in all, it was a great snorkeling trip.
Our snorkeling activities continued in the afternoon: We snorkeled at Devil’s Crown (Corona del Diablo), a round rock formation (which remotely resembles a crown). The current is immense there – in fact, it was so strong that when snorkeling in the middle of the "crown", and swimming very hard, I did not move forward one bit. So, I hitched a ride in the dinghy (just like everyone else, except for the Iron Man Hawaii athlete, who actually swam through that area twice). But while I was in the water, I could admire some colorful fish, a few starfish, and some interesting rock formations. So, this place definitely deserves its reputation as one of the best snorkeling spots in Galapagos.
Finally, we went for a walk at Punta Cormorant. Surprisingly, there are no cormorants to be found there, but flamingos. Moreover, this is also a breeding ground of sea turtles. Unfortunately, they all hatch at night, and therefore cannot be observed. However, just before sunset, the predators of freshly hatched turtle babies are slowly taking the stage: eagle rays in the water, and frigatebirds in the air.
But the greatest spectacle did not come until after dinner (and was quite unplanned): There were dozens (!) of Galapagos sharks hunting at the back of the boat. The light of the boat has attracted small fish, which in turn attracted some flying fish (which, by the way, rightly bear their name – it is quite remarkable how far and how high they can fly over the water!), and the latter, in turn, attracted the sharks. Apparently, not even the crew has seen this in such a manner – what a sight!