Friday, February 7, 2014

Tagus Cove

Tagus Cove is an historical site on the northwestern coast of Isabela Island. Darwin visited there in 1835 and the saltwater lake we hiked up to see is named after him. Whalers and pirates used the cove as a hideout because it is so well-protected by the surf. They also found it a good place to collect tortoises for food. The tortoises were popular because they could be kept alive without feed and very little care. Fresh meat was at a premium on those sailing ships without refrigeration. The sailors left their mark carving graffiti into the rocks, a practice that continued until the creation of the national park in 1960. 

We started our tour with a ride along the rocky coastline where we had good views of penguins, blue-footed boobies, brown noddies, and flightless cormorants. 

Sally Lightfoot crabs taking a break

Brown Noddy (a tern-like bird_
Hiking up to the Darwin Lake overlook
We then disembarked to hike up to the lake overlook. Along the way we were forced to clamber over rocks to avoid the sea lions who decided the stairs were a good place for them to rest. At the top, we had a good view of the lake and several mockingbirds and finches in the trees that would soon begin sprouting as the rains came.

A slight detour around the sea lions
Another detour. These sea lions liked resting on the stairs.

Darwin Lake - saltier than the ocean

Large ground finch

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