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Travel special: Spot Marine Iguanas in the Galapagos Isles

Wonder island: Explore the Galapagos Isles with Dr Ketki Marthak

The scenic views of volcanic islands and unfettered wildlife greeted Dr Ketki Marthak when she visited the Galapagos Islands with her husband, for a 10-day trip last year. Located in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 600 miles west off Ecuador, the archipelago consists of 18 islands.

A large congregation of Marine Iguanas on Fernandina island. Pics courtesy/Dr Ketki Marthak
A large congregation of Marine Iguanas on Fernandina island. Pics courtesy/Dr Ketki Marthak

A Lava Lizard
A Lava Lizard

“Galapagos is every naturalist’s dream. The animals and birds are unafraid of humans, and these islands are full of drama,” shares Dr Marthak, a volunteer with Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), who will recount her trip in a presentation titled, The Enchanted Isles: Galapagos.

Sally Lightfoot Crabs
Sally Lightfoot Crabs

An overview of Galapagos Island
An overview of Galapagos Island

While there are many tours available as per one’s interest, Marthak chose the birding tour and visited several islands including North Seymour, Genovesa, Darwin Bay, Santiago, Fernandina, Isabela, Floreana, Santa Cruz and Espanola. “Every island had a surprise. North Seymour is the largest nesting colony of Frigatebirds and Blue-Footed Boobies.

Sea lions on the Gardner Bay beach at Espanola in the Galapagos Islands
Sea lions on the Gardner Bay beach at Espanola in the Galapagos Islands

We heard the Marine Iguanas’ salt sneezes on Fernandina, the youngest island. On Floreana, we spotted the rare Charles Mockingbird (only 150 such birds exist) and witnessed the courtship dance of Waved Albatross at Espanola.

The rock island of Punta Pitt is home to Red-Footed Boobies
The rock island of Punta Pitt is home to Red-Footed Boobies

Kicker Rock formations at St Cristobal
Kicker Rock formations at St Cristobal

The Charles Darwin Research Station at Santa Cruz, a conservatory for Giant Tortoises and Marine Iguanas, is a must-visit too,” she adds. She also spotted sea lions, fur seals, lava lizards and birds like Darwin’s Finches, Wedge-Rumped Storm Petrel and Nazca Booby.

The rare Charles Mockingbird. Only 150 remain in the wilderness across the world
The rare Charles Mockingbird. Only 150 remain in the wilderness across the world

A Nazca Booby couple
A Nazca Booby couple

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican

Blue Footed Booby
Blue Footed Booby

Dr Ketki Marthak
Dr Ketki Marthak

According to Marthak, the archipelago can be visited all-year. “You can spot whales, mostly, post June, and try activities like kayaking, snorkelling as well as swimming with sea lions, penguins and sea turtles,” she reveals.

On: June 11, 6 pm to 7.30 pm
At: BNHS, opposite Lion Gate, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Colaba.
Entry: Free

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