Every month, we ask one of the guides we work with in the Galapagos for their top 5 highlights of the month. Step forward our guide for October – Maja Homberger!
Originally from Thun in Switzerland, Maja has worked as Galapagos National Park Guide since 1992. Passionate about Galapagos and lots of fun to be with Maja has spent almost all of her working life in Galapagos on board the Angelito, which is one of Think Galapagos’ favorite tourist superior yachts.
The Angelito is due to be officially re-launched in Galapagos on the 13th October, following a four month long refurbishment which has seen new engines fitted and a complete overhaul of the interior.
October is right in the middle of the dry season or ‘Garua’. During this time, the southern trade winds bring the colder Humboldt Current to the Galapagos Islands, making the sea temperature cooler. The air temperate in October is cooler too making the land animals much more active and easier to observe.
1. Finches and mocking birds
At the height of the dry season, the struggle for survival among the land birds is reaching its highest levels. Finches are often desperate for food and can be observed actively foraging, even along coastal regions. It’s much easier to observe the Darwin Finches during the dry months because they have much more work to do to find seeds and, because the vegetation is less dense, they are easier to see in the bushes and trees.
Mocking birds on Española are very aggressive to each other and protective about their territories, often engaging in brutal fights with rivals. They are very curious and fearless birds who think nothing of inspecting visitors’ back packs and even landing on their heads!
2. Waved Albatross chicks
Waved Albatross chicks have been flourishing on the plentiful food since they hatched. The adolescent Albatrosses are in the process of changing their down into feathers and they look really comical, just like punks!
3. Land iguanas and Giant Tortoises
Because vegetation is sparse, it is much easier to see the land animals on Galapagos even if they are nowhere near the pathways. Land iguanas for example can be very easy to spot and photograph.
More and more Giant tortoises can be spotted near the main roads of Santa Cruz Island and there are also more opportunities to spot these gentle giants in the highlands.
4. Nazca and Blue Footed Boobies
Unlike on land, food is abundant at sea and the birds and sea mammals are enjoying the feast while they can. If the food supply is plentiful enough, some Nazca and Blue Footed Boobies will start to mate again at this time.
5. Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is at its prime with a huge abundance of fish and food for marine life. There is a lot to see north and south of the Archipelago.
My Top tip for October
October can be still a cool month, so be sure to pack in a wind breaker and a short wet suit if you’re planning on going in the sea.