Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bloom Where You are Planted

One of the islands had a lot more vegetation on it.
There were actually some flowers.  The Galapagos cotton flower
is in the hibiscus family...looked very similar to one.  The yellow
cordia had small yellow flowers and attracted lots of
bees and butterflies.  In fact, the guide told us not to
wear yellow or pink, so the bees and wasps would not
bother us.  There was also a poison apple tree that had small
hard green fruit on it that was poisonous for humans.

The blossoms of the yellow cordia were falling on the ground,  and we
saw one of the large land iguanas eating them!  I guess there is a use for
all of the elements on the island.


Monday, July 28, 2014

A Red Sandy Beach

Rabida Island

This island looked entirely different from the others.  The rock was
really red, and so there was a red sand beach.  This is where the
sea lions liked to hang out.  We went there late in the afternoon,
and took a Zodiac ride along the shore first.  Then, we did a wet landing,
and got to stroll along the beach with the sea lions lounging in the sun.
They were not afraid.  They were in small groups all along the
shore, waving their flippers to swat the bugs.  There were a few
young ones, but no small pups.  Their fur was covered with the red sand.
It was a peaceful and serene moment....an honor to witness this unique
and beautiful place.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hold Your Breath

Marine Iguanas

As I look at some of these photos, I can imagine that some people
would have nightmares about these creatures!  These are the famous marine
iguanas of the Galapagos islands.  I took lots of photos of them because there
were lots of them!  They lie out in the sun overnight to warm up, usually all
piled up on top of each other.  And there were all sizes...great big old ones,
and even little baby ones.  They were the same color as the lava, so you really
had to watch your step.  They were very still...never really moving except
to kinda sneeze, to get the salt water out of their nose.

I did get to see one underwater, feeding on the algae growing on a rock.
It was kind of creepy to see him, knowing that he was holding his
breath! Our guide told us that Darwin tied a string to one, and
threw him overboard.  He pulled him
up an hour later, and he was just fine.
He couldn't believe he could stay under that long.  They were
definitely interesting, and I had not
seen anything like them before.  I drew them in the sketchbook,
and will probably do even more.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Creation's Glory

Even if there weren't any amazing wildlife in the Galapagos,
just the scenery was worth the trip.  Here are some scenes from
early in the morning on our last day, on Fernandina island.   The sunrise over the water was spectacular.  There was just something about the black lava rock,
blue water and sky, and white sand.  So, I decided to paint one of the
landscapes in my book.  I also like the graphic black silhouettes of the birds
against the clouds.

It is such a primeval place.  It just seemed so untouched and pristene...just
the way God created it.  It was truly easy to worship there...to see God's hand
in all of the amazing creation around us.


Sally Lightfoot Crabs

Aren't these the neatest looking crabs??  Before the trip, I had seen
pics of these, and I was excited to get to see them in person.
They are called, "Sally Lightfoot Crabs".  I asked our naturalist
guide where the name came from.  He said that the biologist that first
discovered them thought they walked like his wife...up on their tiptoes.
Her name was Sally, and so the name was born.
They were on all of the islands.  When they are small, they are grey or black.
As they grow, they start to get their spots and some of the
bright colors.  We saw them in all sizes and colors, all over the black
lava rocks.  They were comical, and colorful, and so fun to see in


Friday, July 25, 2014

Gone to Market

If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that I love
markets.  Anytime I get the chance to go to one, I do.  We had the
chance the second day we were in Quito.  We drove outside of town to the
town of Otovalo, the location of a large outdoor marketplace.  There
were lots of textiles: blankets, rugs, clothing, scarves, etc.  There was also
a lot of fruit.  It is always very colorful...fun to draw or paint.  And
then there were Panama hats...nice straw ones that usually end up as
souveniers in boxes in the upper storage of the plane.  And then
there were also some colorful characters...the interesting man with the
dreadlocks playing the instrument and the pan flute; and the
weathered old woman who had just gotten out of a taxicab...
nice contrast.

This is the page in my sketchbook that I painted while I was there in the
market.  I found a bench, even though it was in the sun, where I
could view the market and do a quick little painting.  The paint dried
instantly...no waiting for it to dry!  I love painting on location,
and this time was no different.

I will be making digital copies of the sketchbook again this year,
for sale.  If you think you might be interested, just let me know.
They will be $100, and will contain all of my paintings as well as
some of my photography.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Whatever Floats your Boat

Here are a few shots from the islands.  We were on the cruise ship "Legend".
It had four decks, about the size of the one we traveled down the Yangtze river
on.  It held 100 passengers and 50 crew members.
We were tendered to the islands on the Zodiac boats.
The large black birds are frigates...they followed our boat whenever we
were under way...hoping for a handout I think.
And that is a Galapagos penguin swimming with us as we
snorkeled.  This was the first time I used the new little underwater camera.
It took a little getting used to...especially as I was floating among the waves
in a wet suit, and trying to hold it still!!

I am home now, and able to reflect on the wonderful experience.  As I
was describing it to my husband last night, he said, "It sounds like Eden", and
I said "Yes, that's it!!"  It is like a paradise...beautiful scenery, and
amazing wildlife, willing to pose for your photo.  It was certainly
different from anywhere I have ever been.  I am so lucky and blessed to have
been able to see it for myself.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I love Boobies

Nazca Boobie

Blue Footed Boobie

My last post was from Quito, and the next day we left for the ship.  There is
no internet access aboard, so I was way off the grid!  But now,
we are back in Quito.

What an amazing place!!  We have had so much fun.  The islands are
teeming with birds, animals, and reptiles.  Since the islands are
protected and uninhabited, they are not afraid.  You can get
within feet or inches of most of the creatures.

These birds are the famous boobies that live there.  There are two species:
the Nazca, and the Blue Footed.  Here are pics of both.  They are
fisherman...they dive bomb into the water from far above as soon as
they spot a fish, and then tuck their wings and plummet.
We saw them everywhere...resting on the rocks, and leaving behind
their "boobie graffiti" as our guide called it.  Beautiful birds...even
comical.  So glad I got to see them.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On One Side or the Other

I have never had one foot in one hemisphere, and the other
foot in the other.  Here at the Equator monument outside
of Quito, you can do just that!

Here's Hannah at 000 Latitude!  They told us the equator only crosses land in a very few places.
It runs across Kenya in Africa.

This is the monument with the globe on the top.  There are beautiful grounds and
gardens, as well as shops and restaurants.

We had another busy day today, going to a large craft market
in the town of Otavalo.  I will post some pics of that
tomorrow.  I am sketching and painting some too...
will try to post those too!