The Boy’s Club on Plaza Sur The Galapagos

Michael interviews one of the girls

We disembarked from Queen of the Galapagos using our panga and land on South Plaza Island one in a group of low-lying islands of the east coast of Santa Cruz. Our yacht has, over lunch sailed around the island passing north-about between Seymour and Baltra.

South and North Plaza are again uplifted islands and home to the cliff dwelling Galapagos Shearwater and the by now, to us, usual cast of other characters.

As we approach the rocky shoreline, we see the lava rocks are positively heaving with wet black sea lion climbing in and out of the water.

The beach is clearly demarked by the sea lions into areas and it is easy to spot the crèche for the babies and the sunbathing spots for the mums. Further along the beach, a huge male bull acts as beachmaster guarding his harem of basking ladies. He growls at and even chases off some would be contenders and there are many of these here on this island. But he does not mind us at all and following rules, look but never touch, we are able to get really close.

The old, infirm or defeated bulls have their own bachelor’s section of the beach: The Boys’ Club. It is here that, together with the young potential challenger bulls, they come to rest, relax, recuperate or is some cases die..

Ashore and inland, large yellow coloured land iguanas munch away happily on the vegetation enjoying the sunshine, completely ignoring us. They are particularly fond of the yellow flowering fruit of the Giant Cactus tree and are quick to reach one when they see it fall to the ground.

Their way of dealing with fallen fruit is fascinating to watch. First the flower is pulled away from the fruit and quickly devoured, this is clearly their favourite part. Then, using their front feet, they roll the fruit in the soil in an attempt to rid its surface of prickly spikes, once that task is completed they tear into the fruit.

We climb to the top of the ridge and there on the other side of the island, we watch red footed tropic birds swooping around with Frigate birds and of course the Galapagos Shearwater. It is here that we see Nazcar Boobies, a close relative but a different species of the Masked Boobie found elsewhere in the world.

Queen of Galapagos is available for charter through Robert Shepherd at Edmiston