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partly cloudy weather

Partly Cloudy
84.2°F (29°C)
Latitude: 0 deg 45’S
Longitude: 90 deg 17’W
Wind Direction: SE
Wind Speed: 10 Knots
Sea State: 1
Swell(s) Height: 3-4 Foot
Sea Temperature: 80.6°F (27°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1010 MB
Visibility: 10-25 Nautical Miles

what's to eat today?
Bacon and sausage
Oatmeal and raisin cookies
Hash browns and hot cereal
Mangos and melons
Dry cereal

(At the Lava Tube Restaurant, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos)
Mini Pizzas
Spaghetti with tomatoe sauce
Broiled Chicken and Vegetables
Fruitcake, coffee, tea

Spaghetti with Meatballs
Salad Bar
Cherry Pie and Ice Cream







Adventures in the Galapagos Islands
April 20, 2000

RV Melville pulled into Academy Bay on Santa Cruz Island yesterday, 164 years after the Beagle arrived here with Charles Darwin. We were all looking forward to seeing the wonders of nature that these islands provide. Below are two accounts of some of our experiences during our brief, but very enjoyable, port stop.

Diving with sharks
By Greg Kurras

Most marine life has learned to fear and hide from humans. However, in the Galapagos Islands, spiny lobsters stare you in the eye and sea lions nudge you as you swim by. Strict laws protect all marine life in the Galapagos Islands. That is why divers can find animals that are as curious about rubber-clad, funny looking humans as the humans are about them! Sharks, sea lions, manta rays, lobster, sea turtles, and even the fish, approach divers with a timid curiosity. So, while most of the science crew went inland to explore the highlands of Santa Cruz, I went to explore the underwater world around the island. I could spend hours describing the wonders I saw. Imagine swimming with a school of twenty or more white tip sharks, each shark coming over to check out the new member (you!); seeing a couple of 3 meter-long hammer head sharks pass only less than an arm length above you as you hold your breath to avoid scaring them away; watching sea turtles sleeping in underwater caves; playing underwater tag with a family of sea lions. The Galapagos Islands are such an amazing place! I think my favorite moment was watching a school of white tip shark swimming “in-place” against the current. As I clung to the rocks fascinated by the product of millions of years of evolution, and surrounded by one of nature’s most efficient eating machines -- the shark, I saw something I never expected to see. Among the white tip sharks, there were three sea lions racing around playing, a couple of sea turtles lazily swimming through the sharks, and two very large hammer head sharks passing a couple of meters above the white tips! None of these creatures was trying to eat or kill each other -- or more importantly me! We were all completely at ease. Thirty minutes later, as my dive buddy and I slowly rose to the surface, I noticed a large manta ray (with a wing span of about 3 meters) gracefully gliding past. Nature is so amazing!

Snorkeling with sea lions
By Ben Wigham and Jonathan Burgess

Yesterday afternoon, eight of the students and Resident Technician Randy Dickau took to the high seas in search of adventure. A hastily arranged snorkeling trip, booked with the aid of master haggler Jon Burgess, soon turned into one of the highlights of our stay in the Galapagos. After a brief but bumpy boat ride, we reached the small island of Caama�o -- home to a large colony of sea lions. We were immediately welcomed by a large group of playful pups, who seemed intent on showing off. We wasted little time in jumping into the water to join them, and were soon accepted into the fun and games. There were at least thirty pups and some watchful adults making sure that we posed no threat to their youngsters. The pups were very inquisitive and moved gracefully, but quickly, through the water around us. Mimicking the twists and turns of our mammalian cousins, we found it impossible to keep up with these agile and friendly creatures! Some pups mischievously nibbled at our fins while others played tug-of-war with a piece of rope. Some snapped up the occasional fish in front of our eyes, and played a game of catch with an unfortunate sea cucumber! We were struck by their intelligence and abundance of energy as we played for over an hour. Playing with wild sea lion pups in their natural habitat was an experience difficult to convey in words -- and one that we will not soon forget. We hope that the animals of the Galapagos Islands continue to accept humans in their environment for as long as we give them no reason to fear us.