These small, bulbous cacti are one of the first life forms that grow after a volcanic eruption. They tell you that the lava field is starting to be eroded, and that, eventually, the island will be able to harbor vegetation. However, by that time we will most likely be dead.
Sprouting from the cracked, black lava, these cacti weren't the only thing living on Fernandina Island. Once we got past these spiky plants we also saw a whole lot of iguanas. I'm not kidding, the coast covered in them. While we were walking along the white sand, we had to be careful not to step on their black tales.
Another interesting thing about these iguanas is that they constantly sneezed.
Because their diet mostly consists of the salty green algae clinging to the sea rocks, they have a lot of extra salt in their bodies. To get rid of the ridiculously high amount they ingest, they sneeze the extra salt out through their nose. Every few steps you walked, you would hear a loud "pshnt!". Since these iguanas form a literal pile to protect themselves from predators, an evolutionary trick, sometimes you might even hear a whole chorus of sneezes.
Paired with the lava cacti, these iguanas provided an interesting sea-side hike. While Fernandina is a big island, because most of it consists of an active shield volcano we didn't stray too far from the coast. However, the comical sneezes of the sneezes of the iguanas and the puffy orange bits of the cactus proved to be entertaining enough.
Before I end this post, I'm going to leave you with some quick tips for visiting Fernadina Island:
- DON'T STEP ON THE MARINE IGUANA'S TAILS. I'm not joking.
- Bring a camera. There's so much wildlife to photograph.
- A pair of good hiking shoes is a must, as the lava can be rough on regular shoe soles.
And so, now you see why I lava good cactus. I'll be doing a post on the seals of Galapagos, and possibly its boobies too, so make sure to check back this Wednesday!
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