Solbit Meets the Galapagos In-Crowd

Dear Nicalai,

Mucho gusto. Hey, I’m learning Spanish already!   That’s Spanish for “Please to meet you.”  I need to practice every day if I’m going to learn a new language!

I’ve been saying “mucho gusto” a lot this week.  That’s because I’ve been meeting the descendants of the original inhabitants of Galapagos.  I think of them as the real “in-crowd” here, and I really am pleased to meet them.

All sorts of animals live here, and some of them live nowhere but here. The Galapagos Sea Lion, pictured below, feeds at sea and spends a lot of time lounging and sleeping in the shore zone of the islands.

I had to wake up this guy in order to greet him with a “Mucho gusto.”  He said, “Iguales,” which means “same here,” and then he said something in Spanish that our guide told me translated, to “Geez! Tourists, tourists, tourists! Now can I go back to sleep?” or something like that.

I had to wake up this guy in order to greet him with a “Mucho gusto.”  He said, “Iguales,” which means “same here,” and then he said something in Spanish that our guide told me translated, to “Geez! Tourists, tourists, tourists! Now can I go back to sleep?” or something like that.

Sea lions and seals look a lot alike so, here’s a question for you. So, what’s the difference? The sea lion has tiny ears; the seal doesn’t. The sea lion spends more time on land, so its flippers work a little more like legs.  The seal spends more time in water, so its flippers are more like … , well, like flippers.  Did you know that sea lions and seals are both marine mammals called “pinnepads?” Hey, I’m learning a lot about marine mammals too — not just Spanish!  If it weren’t for my seasickness, Galapagos would be a lot of fun for me.

Look at these creatures.  They have a funny name, golden cownose rays.  At least that’s what humans call them.  I don’t know what they call themselves.  Couldn’t ask them.

I yelled, “Mucho gusto!”, from our panga to these rays, as they passed by, but I guess that under water they couldn’t hear me. I would have asked them what they call themselves or if they like the name cownose ray.

I yelled, “Mucho gusto!”, from our panga to these rays, as they passed by, but I guess that under water they couldn’t hear me. I would have asked them what they call themselves or if they like the name cownose ray.

Remember what I told you in my last email about the difference between a tortoise and a turtle:  tortoise land and turtle water?  Well, you can see that we were on land when I took this photo, and we were in Galapagos.

So, this would be a Galapagos tortoise, right? It’s also called a Giant Tortoise. You don’t have to be genius to know why.

So, this would be a Galapagos tortoise, right? It’s also called a Giant Tortoise. You don’t have to be genius to know why.

You probably remember pictures of cormorants that Nona, Papa and I saw on our around-the-world trip, but you won’t have see a picture of this one.

The blue eyes and the tiny wings — too small for flight — make this bird the flightless cormorant. Nona says this is a new bird for our bird list!

The blue eyes and the tiny wings — too small for flight — make this bird the flightless cormorant. Nona says this is a new bird for our bird list!

This Galapagos cormorant is the largest, and the only flightless, cormorant in the world.  Right, it can’t fly.  I think somebody made it’s wings too small. I wonder: what’s the point of being a bird if you can’t fly?  Why not just be a mammal or a reptile?

Just in case you think I’m making this stuff up, I want you to know that I get all my Galapagos info by borrowing from our wonderful Ecoventura guides and Nona’s book, Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands by Andy Swash and Rob. I’m pretty sure they don’t make up these facts.

I’ve saved the best for last.  When Papa told me that we were going to see — for the first time ever — Blue-footed Boobies, I thought he was making a joke.

Well, one part of the bird’s name made me think that Papa was using a word that I wasn’t supposed to use.  Also, the first part of the name just sounded silly, but just one look at these birds and I knew immediately that he wasn’t joking.

These really are Blue-footed Boobies.  No kidding!

These really are Blue-footed Boobies.  No kidding!

Boobies, I mean the bird, come in other types too: Nazca and Red-footed. I hope to see all of them before we leave here.

Gosh, I kinda got carried away.  Sorry this letter is so long, but I hope you enjoyed it.  Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

April 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

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