The sea wolf was playing dead in Darwin’s Bay. That’s what the locals call them in Spanish: lobo de mar. I grew up knowing them as sea lions.
When he saw me snorkelling, he resurrected and starting swimming around me with curiosity. He stared into my eyes, swam beneath me and out of sight. He couldn’t have been more than two years old. And then he would appear again prancing in the water.
The sea lion repeated his water acrobatics for a good five minutes. That’s when he saw something more interesting and fun than me. He swam away towards a marine iguana on the lava rock, or what I call a water dragon. I’m surprised the sea lion could see so well. The marine iguana was well camouflaged on the black lava rock that I didn’t even notice it.
He was pestering the iguana’s tail until the iguana had enough of it.
The iguana went into the water and tried to swim away. The sea lion followed the iguana right behind and nibbled on its tail. How annoying that must be all in the name of entertainment. But I was swimming parallel beside them and enjoyed the show.
It sucked I didn’t bring my GoPro to record what nature presented. It beats an Oscar winning film.
After a few minutes of playtime, the sea lion swam away, but I didn’t. I stayed with marine iguana as I was curious to see what this mythical creature would summon.
But it didn’t summon anything. It swam down a metre or two and started eating algae. My breath was taken away, actually I was just holding my breath, to see this endemic water dragon (only found in The Galapagos) eat underwater.
All this because of a bored baby sea lion playing dead in Darwin’s Bay. This is the norm in The Galapagos, not the unusual.
I went often to Darwin’s Bay with my friend Noah. We met while volunteering at the Jatun Sacha Biological Reserve on San Cristobal.
“This is the greatest place on the planet and Darwin’s Bay is probably the best snorkelling spot,” Noah and I would often say to each other.
And it’s free.
The official name of the bay is Cerro Tijeretas because of the frigate birds up the hill. It’s the place that 26 year-old Charles Darwin first stepped foot on in The Galapagos in 1935. Hence the unofficial name of Darwin’s Bay. It’s not the same Darwin’s Bay in Genovesa Island.