The volunteer castaways of the Cousteau team choose to set up camp on the island of Española (also called Hood Island), one of the smallest and most unusual spots in the Galápagos. The group includes chief diver Bernard Delemotte, two other divers Jacques Delcoutère and François Dorado, cameramen Michel Deloire and Jacques Renoir, assistant Henri Alliet and the American cook “Little Joe.”
Calypso’s men have come to Española to observe the behavior of marine iguanas (Amblyrynchus cristatus) that abound on the rocky coast but their most vivid moments are the times when the camp is calmly at rest. That is when the golden Galápagos sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki) come, to scratch, lie about, yawn and sleep on the sand, just two paces from the tents.
Sometimes living with animals is more problematic. For example, the mockingbirds, a kind of small cheeky cousin to blackbirds, come steal anything the cook has inadvertently left in their reach, without the least bit of fear or remorse. They can be supremely wily, as when one rolls an egg off the table to smash it on the ground, then pecks at the white and yolk!