Find great deals during September
September and October are known as the “low season,” when tourist activity tends to slow down. During these months, you can find awesome promotions on cruises and hotels. It is also a less-crowded time to travel to the Galapagos Islands.
Wildlife highlights for September
Galapagos Penguin (spheniscus mendiculus) – most active on Bartholomew Island. These tiny penguins are only about 1.5 feet in length (49 cm) and are the only penguin species found north of the equator, in the Galapagos. There are currently less than 1,000 breeding pairs, and their population is mostly concentrated on Fernandina and Isabela Islands. During September, the Antarctic Humboldt Current blasts nutrient rich, cold water through the Galapagos, making fishing and swimming conditions perfect for this little bird.
Blue-footed boobies (sula nebouxii) – nesting. During September, the blue footed boobies continue their nesting. These birds are native to the Galapagos Islands and have evolved into expert divers, capable of diving deep into the ocean from high in the air or even just from sitting on the water’s surface. During the nesting time, they hunt during the day and nest at night. Their defining characteristic is their blue, webbed feet.
Waved albatross (phoebastria irrorata) – nesting. The nesting season for the waved albatross is quite interesting. After the chick is about two weeks old, their parents will scavenge for fish and squid, which they will pre-digest to feed their young. While they are hunting, the chicks are left in small “nursery” groups. The waved albatross is the largest of the Galapagos birds, with a wingspan of up to 7.5 feet (2.3m). They are critically endangered due mainly to long-line fishing, during which a boat drags a baited line through the water – when the albatross tries to take the bait, it often gets hooked and drowns as the boat line drags it under water.
California sea lions (zalophus californianus) – mating. Once they reach sexual maturity (around 9-years-old), the male sea lion will return to the same beach year after year and breed with many females. In one season alone, they can mate with around 16 females. Since the Galapagos species give birth in August, they go into heat again within 20-30 days. Females will start the courtship by posing in submissive positions in front of males. The copulation may take between a few minutes to a few hours; the ensuing gestation period lasts about 11 months.
Galapagos fur seals (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) – start mating. In September, the mating season begins for this smaller cousin of the California sea lion. Adult males can be up to 5 feet (1.5m) long and weigh up to 140 pounds (64kg); females are smaller, at around 4 feet long and 61 pounds (28kg). Their diet consists of fish, octopus, and squid, and from a young age they are taught to be expert deep-sea divers. Protective bulls will defend their territory of females until their energy store runs out and they need to leave to eat; sometimes, intense fights between bulls will result in their death.