I woke up at 5:30 AM, once again hoping for a sunrise. Again, the skies were overcast and almost foggy. We were moored in James Bay off the island of Santiago. I watched the sea birds fly and feed in the still waters. I think a saw sea turtle or two in the water, but I can't be sure (maybe they were sea lions).
We leave the boat at 6:15 AM, landing on a black sand beach on Santiago Island. The black sand is eroded volcanic rock. This area is associated with Charles Darwin, as he stayed in a cabin for part of his stay in the Galapagos islands. After passing "Darwin's House", we went for a walk along the shore and soon came across many marine iguanas resting on the black rocks. Compared to the marine iguanas we had seen previously, these ones were much larger. We were able to get quite close to take photos of them, but you had to be careful that you didn't get sprayed with salt. Marine iguanas have unique salt glands that they use to sneeze the excess salt that enters their systems when feeding under water on seaweed. Amongst the iguanas, we also saw herons and oyster catchers.
Further along the shore, we came to a tidal grotto in the volcanic rock, know as "Darwin's Toilet". As the waves come in, it fills up with water, and as the waves go back, the toilet flushes. The following video explains better than words:
At another grotto we found several Galapagos fur seals. Fur seals are similar to sea lions, but have a thicker, furry hide. To stay cool, they stay in grottos like this among the rocks, while the sea lions stay mostly on the sandy beaches.