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World......South America... ..Ecuador.& Galapagos Islands fe..Galapagos Mural

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BARTOLOME.. .The most famous landmark in the Galapagos is Bartolome Island's Pinnacle Rock, that rises to a point 360 feet about the sea.  I waded out in ankle - deep water to get a closer look at the little sharks swimming right along the shore.  Sharks didn't stop me from snorkeling around Pinnacle Rock and behind it.  I wanted to see the Galapagos penguins that lived there.  They were the second smallest penguins in the world.  A full grown adult was about 12 inches tall. 
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As I snorkeled the shy penguins swam past me.  Once I decided to rest on a rock and watch some on the cliff's edge.  It wasn't the best idea because this rock was claimed by a male sea lion.  He hollered and circled around me.  You don't ever want 700 pounds of sea lion mad at you.  I decided I better go before he charged towards me.  Too late!  As I looked below me, I saw this sea lion swim RIGHT UNDER me.  RIGHT UNDER the entire length of my body!  After getting out to a safe distance, I turned around to look at that rock.  The sea lion wasn't even on it.  But, there on the very rock where I had been sitting, was a penguin!

I was so mad at that sea lion.

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Fortunately, this story has a happy ending, but it took me 25 years to get back to Bartolome Island and its penguins! 

I remembered the penguins as very shy.  Perhaps the flood of tourists with snorkel gear over the years had one good side effect.  The penguins seemed very used to visitors.  As I snorkeled around Pinnacle Rock, I spotted a couple on the shore.  I decided to see how close I could get by water.  As quietly as possible, I reached the very rock where they preened themselves.  I stood by the rock (well, I tried to but it was difficult to fight the ebb and flow of the water) for ten minutes.  That process was made even more difficult with bulky fins on my feet and volcanic rock that sliced away at grasping fingers.  Observing was easier when I moved closer and sat by the rock.  Since the two preeners were not in the least bit concerned about my presence, I next moved on to the very rock for an even closer look.  They were within petting distance (which I wouldn't consider doing).  I sat there with them for ten magical minutes.  Finally, one of them slipped into the water and was soon followed by the other.  It was time for me to head back around the Pinnacle.

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The back view of Pinnacle Rock Galapagos Penguin
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Copyright 2011 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.

 

 



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